Every year more than 3 million Americans seek treatment for burns. Whether you’re cooking dinner on the stove, curling your hair to get ready for a night out, or lighting a candle, doing everyday tasks come with the risk of getting burned. Heat burns – burns caused by fire, steam, hot liquids, or hot objects – are the most widely known type of burn. However, there are many different types of burns.
Types of Burns:
- Electrical burns, which are caused by contact with an electrical source or lightning
- Friction burns (also known as “road rash”), which are caused by contact with hard surfaces such as roads, carpets, and gym floors
- Cold burns, which are caused by contact with extreme cold, wet, or windy conditions
- Chemical burns, which are caused by contact with certain household or industrial chemicals
- Radiation burns, which are caused by exposure to the sun (sunburns), tanning booths, X-rays, and radiation therapy
All types of burns are broken down into different levels categorized from minor to severe:
- First-degree burns: These types of burn affect only the outer layer of the skin and can typically be treated with at-home remedies.
- Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns can be treated as minor burn if they’re smaller than three inches in diameter or if it doesn’t cover a major joint, your hands, feet, or face. These types of burns affect the inner and outer layer of skin and typically cause the skin to blister.
- Third-degree burns: These types of burns always require professional medical attention, as they affect all layers of the skin and underlying tissue.
- Fourth-degree burns: The most severe type of burn, fourth-degree burns affect all layers of the skin and underlying ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bones.
If you have a minor burn, home treatment options include:
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Holding the affected area under cool running water until the pain passes to help cool the burn
- Applying aloe vera lotion to the affected area to moisturize the burn and keep it cool
Urgent care centers are able to treat minor burns (first-degree or small second-degree burns), while third-degree and fourth-degree burns are better treated at the emergency room.