Your skin can be injured by a variety of exposures to chemical or thermal substances in the environment. These reactions are medically labeled “burns”.  A skin blister from exposure to a household chemical is medically treated the same as a skin blister from a burn on a hot stove. The first step in determining the extent of damage to body tissues is to distinguish a minor burn from a serious burn. The three burn classifications of first-degree burn, second-degree burn and third-degree burn will help you determine emergency care.

1st-degree burn

The least serious burns are those in which only the outer layer of skin is burned, but not all the way through.

  • Pain sometimes is present
  • Often there is swelling
  • The skin is usually red

2nd-degree burn

When the first layer of skin has been burned through and the second layer of skin (dermis) also is burned, the injury is called a second-degree burn.

  • 3rd-degree burn
  • There is severe pain and swelling.
  • Skin takes on an intensely reddened, splotchy appearance
  • Blisters develop

The most serious burns involve all layers of the skin and cause permanent tissue damage. Fat and muscle may be affected. Areas may be charred black or appear dry and white. Difficulty inhaling and exhaling, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other toxic effects may occur if smoke inhalation accompanies the burn.

For major burns, call 911.
For minor burns, including first-degree burns and second-degree burns take the following action DO:

Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 or 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cool water or cool it with cold compresses. Cooling the burn reduces swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. Don’t put ice on the burn.
Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage.  Bandaging keeps air off the burn, reduces pain and protects blistered skin.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Don't:

use ice. Putting ice directly on a burn can cause a person’s body to become too cold and cause further damage to the wound.
Don’t apply egg whites, butter or ointments to the burn. This could cause infection.
Don’t break blisters. Broken blisters are more vulnerable to infection.
At Largo Clinic we will perform a complete evaluation of your burn, insure the use of proper antibiotics and follow up continuously to afford you the best cosmetic result.

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