Abrasions and Minor Burns
A burn is an injury to the skin caused by exposure to extreme heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. Most minor burns only affect the skin, but severe burns require urgent care, as they can cause damage below the skin, all the way through to the fat, muscle, or bone. The symptoms of a burn are red and blistered skin, a wet appearance (due to loss of fluid), severe pain in the burnt area, and whitening of the area when touched (called “blanching”). Signs of a more serious burn, which always require immediate urgent care, are:
- A blistering burn that is larger than the size of your palm.
- A burn that is accompanied by symptoms of an infection, including fever, redness, and swelling of the wound.
- Foul-smelling drainage seeping from the burn.
- Evidence of shock, including difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, or inability to stay warm.
To stop burns from spreading or getting worse, first remove any clothing that is touching the affected area, as well as any clothing that has come into contact with chemicals or a hot substance. Then treat the injured skin with cold water, not ice. For deep, blistered burns, never irritate or puncture the blister. Instead, use petroleum jelly and gauze to gently protect the wound, and then seek urgent care. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen will control pain and swelling of the injury.
Our providers will evaluate and treat your burn in the office. If the minor burn has been dressed, they will instruct you to change the dressing once or twice daily.