Which Burn Remedy Is Appropriate?
Choosing an appropriate burn remedy depends upon the type of burn as well as its severity. A burn remedy to treat a chemical burn will often be quite different from that used to treat sunburn or an electrical burn. Some remedies are quite simple and straightforward, especially when dealing with a first degree burn. Treating a second degree burn will usually require a different remedy and greater attention, while a third degree burn is often best left to a professional medical person to deal with. Also the burn remedy of choice can be greatly influenced by the location of the burn and the size of the affected area.
First Degree Burn Remedy - With a first degree burn, the skin is usually red or inflamed, and the burn remedy of choice is normally something to draw off heat from the area. This can be as simple as running cold water over the burn area or applying a cold compress. Sometimes one is advised to apply ice to the area to remove heat faster and gain relief faster, but this generally is not a good idea. If the skin has been damaged at all, applying ice can cause even greater damage. Sticking with cold water is by far the best approach. The important thing to remember with a first degree burn, such as a mild case of sunburn, is the only the outer layer of skin has been affected, and the chances of permanent damage to the skin are quite small.
Second Degree Burn Remedy - The most common sign of a second degree burn is the appearance of blisters, and possible swelling. Again, the first course of action is to provide relief and draw heat from the burned area as soon as possible. Applying aloe vera, either fresh from a leaf of the plant if handy, or a lotion containing aloe vera, is a good choice. Aloe vera has very powerful healing and soothing properties. In treating a second degree burn, care should be taken to avoid breaking open any blisters which have formed, as this opens up the possibility of an infection entering into the picture. While a second degree burn can usually be treated at home, if a significant part of the body has been burned, or if any of the blisters are greater than 2 or 3 inches in size, professional help should be sought immediately. Taking a cool shower may help in some instances to draw heat away from the burned area. Avoid icy showers or cold baths. A stream of icy water or being submerged in very cold water could cause the burn victim to go into shock. The water should be cool enough to draw heat away without being overly cold.
Third Degree – Get Medical Attention - A third degree burn is of course the most serious. In a third degree burn, tissue has been destroyed, and without immediate medical assistance the risk of infection becomes very great. If a large area of the body is affected, the very survival of the victim may be at risk. Even if only a small area suffers a third degree burn, medical attention is needed if permanent damage to the skin is to be avoided. There is little in the way of any home burn remedy that can do much for a third degree burn. Home remedies may come into play of course during the recovery process, but even this should be under the guidance of a physician. A person suffering from a third degree burn will often go into shock or at the very least may feel ill, so getting medical attention as quickly as possible is imperative.
There are a number of home remedies which can be very useful in treating first degree burns and probably the majority of second degree burns. One thing not to do in either case is to apply butter or any ointment containing petroleum components to the burn area. These will hinder the healing process even if they provide some temporary relief. Vitamin E powder (from capsules) or creams or ointments containing Vitamin E (but not containing any petroleum products) is one class of burn remedy which is usually quite effective. There are also several herbal remedies which may come in handy such as St. John's Wort, Witch Hazel and Mint. All provide soothing relief and all promote healing.
Summarizing: For a first and some second degree burns, cold water and/or a topical remedy such as aloe vera will often suffice. For second degree burns covering a large area or exhibiting very large blisters, and for any third degree burn, get medical help ASAP, especially if the patient is feeling ill. No ice, no ice-cold baths or showers.