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Burns: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments

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Burns are classified from first to third degree. Most people recover without serious health consequences, but more severe burns require emergency medical care to prevent complications and death.

Burns are one of the most common household injuries, especially among children. The term “burn” means more than the burning sensation associated with this injury. Burns are characterized by severe skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die.

Read on to learn how to identify first, second, and third-degree burns and how they’re treated.

There are three primary types of burns: first-, second-, and third-degree. Each degree is based on the severity of damage to the skin, with first-degree being the most minor and third-degree being the most severe. Damage includes:

  • first-degree burns: red, nonblistered skin
  • second-degree burns: blisters and some thickening of the skin
  • third-degree burns: widespread thickness with a white, leathery appearance

There are also fourth-degree burns. This type of burn includes all of the symptoms of a third-degree burn and also extends beyond the skin into tendons and bones.

Burns have a variety of causes, including:

  • scalding from hot, boiling liquids
  • chemical burns
  • electrical burns
  • fires, including flames from matches, candles, and lighters
  • excessive sun exposure

The type of burn is not based on the cause of it. Scalding, for example, can cause all three burns, depending on how hot the liquid is and how long it stays in contact with the skin.

Chemical and electrical burns warrant immediate medical attention because they can affect the inside of the body, even if skin damage is minor.

First-degree burns cause minimal skin damage. They are also called “superficial burns” because they affect the outermost layer of skin. Signs of a first-degree burn include:

  • redness
  • minor inflammation, or swelling
  • pain
  • dry, peeling skin occurs as the burn heals

Since this burn affects the top layer of skin, the signs and symptoms disappear once the skin cells shed. First-degree burns usually heal within 7 to 10 days without scarring.

You should still see your doctor if the burn affects a large area of skin, more than three inches, and if it’s on your face or a major joint, which include:

  • knee
  • ankle
  • foot
  • spine
  • shoulder
  • elbow
  • forearm

First-degree burns are usually treated with home care. Healing time may be quicker the sooner you treat the burn. Treatments for a first-degree burn include:

  • soaking the wound in cool water for five minutes or longer
  • taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief
  • applying lidocaine (an anesthetic) with aloe vera gel or cream to soothe the skin
  • using an antibiotic ointment and loose gauze to protect the affected area

Make sure you don’t use ice, as this may make the damage worse. Never apply cotton balls to a burn because the small fibers can stick to the injury and increase the risk of infection. Also, avoid home remedies like butter and eggs as these are not proven to be effective.

Second-degree burns are more serious because the damage extends beyond the top layer of skin. This type burn causes the skin to blister and become extremely red and sore.

Some blisters pop open, giving the burn a wet or weeping appearance. Over time, thick, soft, scab-like tissue called fibrinous exudate may develop over the wound.

Due to the delicate nature of these wounds, keeping the area clean and bandaging it properly is required to prevent infection. This also helps the burn heal quicker.

Some second-degree burns take longer than three weeks to heal, but most heal within two to three weeks without scarring, but often with pigment changes to the skin.

The worse the blisters are, the longer the burn will take to heal. In some severe cases, skin grafting is required to fix the damage. Skin grafting takes healthy skin from another area of the body and moves it to the site of the burned skin.

As with first-degree burns, avoid cotton balls and questionable home remedies. Treatments for a mild second-degree burn generally include:

  • running the skin under cool water for 15 minutes or longer
  • taking over-the-counter pain medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • applying antibiotic cream to blisters

However, seek emergency medical treatment if the burn affects a widespread area, such as any of the following:

  • face
  • hands
  • buttocks
  • groin
  • feet

Excluding fourth-degree burns, third-degree burns are the most severe. They cause the most damage, extending through every layer of skin.

There is a misconception that third-degree burns are the most painful. However, with this type of burn the damage is so extensive that there may not be any pain because of nerve damage.

Depending on the cause, the symptoms third-degree burns can exhibit include:

  • waxy and white color
  • char
  • dark brown color
  • raised and leathery texture
  • blisters that do not develop

Without surgery, these wounds heal with severe scarring and contracture. There is no set timeline for complete spontaneous healing for third-degree burns.

Never attempt to self-treat a third-degree burn. Call 911 immediately. While you’re waiting for medical treatment, raise the injury above your heart. Don’t get undressed, but make sure no clothing is stuck to the burn.

Compared with first- and second-degree burns, third-degree burns carry the most risk for complications, such as infections, blood loss, and shock, which is often what could lead to death. At the same time, all burns carry the risk of infections because bacteria can enter broken skin.

Tetanus is another possible complication with burns of all levels. Like sepsis, tetanus is a bacterial infection. It affects the nervous system, eventually leading to problems with muscle contractions. As a rule of thumb, every member of your household should receive updated tetanus shots every 10 years to prevent this type of infection.

Severe burns also carry the risk of hypothermia and hypovolemia. Dangerously low body temperatures characterize hypothermia. While this may seem like an unexpected complication of a burn, the condition is actually prompted by excessive loss of body heat from an injury. Hypovolemia, or low blood volume, occurs when your body loses too much blood from a burn.

The obvious best way to fight burns is to prevent them from happening. Certain jobs put you at a greater risk for burns, but the fact is that most burns happen at home. Infants and young children are the most vulnerable to burns. Preventive measures you can take at home include:

  • Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
  • Test smoke detectors once a month.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Keep water heater temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Measure bath water temperature before use.
  • Lock up matches and lighters.
  • Install electrical outlet covers.
  • Check and discard electrical cords with exposed wires.
  • Keep chemicals out of reach, and wear gloves during chemical use.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, and avoid peak sunlight.
  • Ensure all smoking products are stubbed out completely.
  • Clean out dryer lint traps regularly.

It’s also important to have a fire escape plan and to practice it with your family once a month. In the event of a fire, make sure to crawl underneath smoke. This will minimize the risk of passing out and becoming trapped in a fire.

When properly and quickly treated, the outlook for first- and second-degree burns is good. These burns rarely scar but can result in a change in pigment of the skin that was burned. The key is to minimize further damage and infection. Extensive damage from severe second-degree and third-degree burns can lead to problems in deep skin tissues, bones, and organs. Patients may require:

  • surgery
  • physical therapy
  • rehabilitation
  • lifelong assisted care

It’s important to gain adequate physical treatment for burns, but don’t forget to find help for your emotional needs. There are support groups available for people who have experienced severe burns, as well as certified counselors. Go online or talk to your doctor to find support groups in your area. You can also use other resources such as Burn Survivor Assistance and the Children’s Burn Foundation.

Chemical Burns – Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America

Chemical burns can happen anywhere from work, at home or even at school. With more than 30,000 chemicals readily available in America, chemical burns account for 5% of all burn admissions.

While most chemical burn injuries tend to be workplace accidents, these injuries can originate from misusing skin, hair and nail products, household cleaners, do-it-yourself projects or malicious instances of assault.

What is a chemical burn?

A chemical burn occurs when an external agent (chemical) causes tissue irritation or damage as a result of direct contact. Most chemical burns are caused by either strong acids or bases, with prolonged exposure leading to severe injuries, scarring, disability or worse.

What are some common agents?

  • Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid
  • Formic acid
  • Chromic acid
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Calcium Hydroxide

Where are these found?

You can find any number of the above agents in household products like oven cleaners, hair dye, wet cement, pool cleaners, yard materials, bleach or metal cleaners, gasoline and paint thinners.

Signs and symptoms of a chemical burn

All chemical burns should be considered as potential medical emergencies.

The face, eyes, hands, arms and legs are most often affected by chemical burns, but inhalation of some chemicals can also result in injury. The amount of tissue damage from an agent depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The strength or concentration of agent
  • Where the chemical had direct contact (skin, eyes, mouth, etc.)
  • Whether the agent was ingested, swallowed or inhaled
  • The amount of agent you came into contact with
  • Length of exposure to the agent

Questions to ask:

  • What was the agent?
  • How did exposure occur?
  • What was the duration of contact?
  • Was there an explosion?
  • What is the toxicity of the agent?
  • What decontamination occurred?

What does a chemical burn look like?

Most victims will be immediately aware of the burn and what caused it. Many of the most common chemical burn compounds we listed above are found around the home, your workplace and other familiar environments. Usually, the effects of a chemical burn appear pretty quickly. However, some might not appear until later. Visual signs and symptoms might include:

  • Blisters or black skin at the site of contact
  • Redness, irritation or a burning sensation at the site of contact
  • Pain or numbness at the site of contact
  • Vision changes or loss if the agent was in direct contact with the eyes
  • Cough or shortness of breath

What should I do if I have a chemical burn?

Chemicals come in both liquid and powder forms. Never pour water on a chemical burn from a powder, as this could create a new caustic agent. For liquid chemical burns, irrigating is recommended. Never try to neutralize a chemical burn.

How to Treat a Chemical Burn on the Face and Hands

The guidelines on treating a chemical burn depend on the severity of the burn and where it is located. A healthcare professional should assess all chemical burns, especially more severe burns that have penetrated through several layers of skin. The hands and face are the two most common contact points, so it helps to know how to treat a chemical burn in those areas while waiting for a medical assessment.

Chemical Burn on Hands

  1. Remove clothing from the affected area.
  2. Brush any remaining dry chemicals off the skin. Be sure to use a glove, towel or cloth to not make direct contact.
  3. Rinse the affected area under cool water for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Avoid applying oily substances, home remedies or medicine from your bathroom cabinet directly to the burn.

Chemical Burn on Face

All burns to the face are serious, but if chemicals splash in someone’s eye, you should call 911 immediately. In the meantime:

  1. Remove any remaining dry chemicals from the skin around the eyes with a glove, towel or cloth.
  2. Rinse with cool water.
  3. Remove the victim’s contact lenses if they wear them.
  4. Continue rinsing with cool water until you reach medical assistance.

Follow up Chemical Burn Treatment

Once a physician has cleaned, treated and dressed your wound, you may be able to treat it at home by yourself while it is healing. However, skin damaged by a burn is susceptible and prone to infection. Your doctor will likely give you clear instructions for cleaning and care. Otherwise, it’s best practice to follow these first aid recommendations:

  1. Clean the wound and change the dressing daily.
  2. Refrain from scratching the burn.
  3. Avoid popping any blisters. If a blister pops by itself, dab away the fluid and leave the remaining skin.
  4. Never use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on a burn.
  5. Always cover with a clean, dry and sterile non-stick dressing, ensuring it is not too tight. Burn wounds tend to swell, and you don’t want to cause additional circulation problems.
  6. Read the instructions on any medication bottle carefully, and only take drugs in the prescribed dosage.
  7. Seek your doctor’s advice before taking any over-the-counter meds.

When to Seek Emergency Care for Your Chemical Burns

Not all chemicals can be removed with water. Some may need to be removed in alternative ways by a doctor. All chemical burns should be assessed by a healthcare professional as soon as possible, no matter how minor they are. Even once a doctor has checked the burn site, additional problems may develop. If you notice any of the following symptoms, call 911 or head to the nearest hospital with an emergency department.

  • Fever
  • Shock symptoms include cool, clammy skin, a weak pulse and shallow breathing
  • Increased pain
  • Excess swelling, heat or redness
  • Red streaking around the burn
  • Pus or blood oozing from the burn

Monitor your burn for any changes. If it is not getting better each day, or you notice any new signs or symptoms, contact your physician as soon as you can.

How Long Does a First-Degree Chemical Burn Take to Heal?

The time it takes to recover from a chemical burn on the skin will depend on how much damage there is and how deep the injury goes. That depends on how strong the chemical or agent was, how much of it made contact with the skin, how long it was there and how soon after the accident a patient receives the proper chemical burn treatment. Like any other burn, a chemical burn has degrees of severity:

First-degree – Only the epidermis, the outermost and most superficial layer of skin, is damaged. First-degree acid burns on the skin are the most common type of chemical injury and usually heal in around 7-10 days.

Second-degree – Both the epidermis and the next layer of skin underneath, known as the dermis, are damaged. After the appropriate medical treatment, healing can take a few weeks.

Third-degree – Extending through the epidermis and dermis to the deepest layers of tissue and nerves, this is the most severe type of burn. Third-degree chemical burns are rare but possible in the event of exposure to flames, explosions and powerful chemicals. Because the burn can reach the muscle, fat and tissue beneath the dermis, the healing process takes longer and can last up to several months.

Preventing Chemical Burns

Even minor chemical burns can be very painful, but the good news is that you can significantly reduce the chances of an accident by taking a few precautions around your home and workplace.

  • Always wear appropriate protective clothing like gloves and safety glasses when handling chemical products.
  • Only handle chemical products in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use the original containers. Never store chemicals in old food or drink containers or keep them in the same place as consumable products.
  • Read the label and instructions carefully.
  • Store chemical products safely following the manufacturer’s guidelines, and never mix different chemicals.
  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • If you’re unsure whether a substance is toxic, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • If you’re handling chemicals at work, make sure you’ve had the proper health, safety and OSHA standards training.

By applying these basic chemical safety rules, you can reduce the chances of a chemical injury.

For more information on chemical burns or how to treat them, contact Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America at 855-863-9595. If you’re a healthcare provider looking to refer a patient, check out our referral process and how we’re able to assess and create a care plan in minutes.

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Chemical burn – Symptoms and Treatment of burns in 2023

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  1. Causes of chemical burns
  2. Burning agents
  3. Degrees of chemical burns
  4. Symptoms
    1. Chemical eye burns characterized
    2. Chemical burns from ingestion
  5. Depth diagnostics
  6. First aid for chemical burns
  7. Chemical burn treatment
  8. What not to do with a chemical burn
  9. Complications of chemical burns
  10. Prognosis for chemical burns
  11. First things to do for burns at home
  12. Chemical Burn Prevention
  13. Sources

Chemical burn is damage to the skin or mucous membranes as a result of exposure to aggressive chemicals.

During chemical burns, substances penetrate into tissues and can have a long-term damaging and toxic effect on tissues and the whole organism as a whole.

Causes of chemical burns

Chemical burns are caused by exposure of the skin or mucous membranes to caustic metals. alkalis, acids, phosphorus, oxidizing agents, causing damage of various depths

  • 51% of all chemical burns are caused by acids
  • 21% of chemical burns are caused by alkalis
  • 28% are chemical burns due to exposure to all other substances

Burning agents

There is a risk of chemical burns both at work and at home.

Anyone who works with chemicals is at risk of chemical burns, including:

  • Builders.
  • Factory workers.
  • Farmers.
  • Laboratory assistants.
  • Mechanics.
  • Military personnel.
  • Plumbers.

For example, household detergents often contain acids and bases. All household chemicals, from stove and sink cleaners to various stain removers, contain hydroxides and carbonates

In the chemical industry, burns are more often caused by acids (43%), by alkalis – 23%

There are a lot of substances that cause chemical burns. Some of the most common are:

  • Battery acid.
  • Bleach.
  • Detergents.
  • Sewer cleaners.
  • Fertilizers.
  • Hair relaxers.
  • Metal cleaners and rust removers.
  • Paint removers.
  • Pesticides.
  • Sanitizers and disinfectants.
  • Pool chemicals.
  • Toilet cleaners.
  • Wet cement.

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Chemical burns grade

A feature of chemical burns is the duration of their action if they are not removed from the skin in time. Chemicals continue to destroy tissues until they are neutralized and reduced in concentration.

Therefore, a chemical burn can only progress over time, especially if the victim’s clothing soaked in an aggressive substance is not removed

The severity of a chemical burn is determined by the following factors:

  • The nature of the chemical
  • Chemical concentration
  • Duration of exposure
  • Degree of tissue penetration
  • Mechanism of action

Chemical burns are classified, like thermal burns, according to the degree of damage to the skin and underlying tissues:

  • First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin, the so-called epidermis. The skin looks red and sore, but there is usually no permanent damage.
  • Second degree burns extend to the second layer of the skin, called the dermis. Characterized by the formation of blisters.
  • Third degree burns penetrate all layers of the skin and can damage the tissue underneath. The area of ​​damage may appear black or white (eschar) depending on the characteristics of the damaging agent. Because the nerves are damaged, there may be no pain.

Hot bitumen burn


Infants and the elderly are most at risk of burns. Chemical burns are most common:

  • Young children who actively explore the environment
  • People whose work involves contact with chemicals

Some symptoms of chemical burns outlined

  • The color of the affected skin depends on the color of the damaged liquids
  • Sulfuric acid burns first form a white eschar that darkens to brown or black
  • In hydrochloric acid burns, the eschar is yellow.
  • When burned with nitric acid, the eschar is yellow-green
  • When burned with phenol – first a white eschar, then a copper-colored eschar
  • When burned with a concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide – a white eschar
  • Chemical burn with concentrated hydrogen peroxide

    Causes chemical burns on the skin :

    • Blistering (blistering) or eschar.
    • Pain.
    • Skin peeling.
    • Redness (hyperemia).
    • Discoloration of the skin when burned by a number of substances.
    • Swelling.

    Chemical eye burns are characterized by:

    • Blurred vision.
    • Edema of the eyelids.
    • Pain.
    • Redness.
    • Stinging or burning sensation
    • Blindness (in severe cases).

    Chemical burns from ingestion
    chemicals can cause:

    • Severe pain in the chest, behind the sternum.
    • Cough.
    • Difficulty speaking (dysphonia).
    • Salivation.
    • Hoarseness of voice.
    • Low blood pressure (hypotension) is a symptom of burn shock.
    • Nausea and vomiting or vomiting of blood.
    • Pain in the mouth and throat (especially when swallowing).
    • Perforation (hole) in the stomach, esophagus or cornea (in case of eye burn).
    • Shortness of breath (dyspnea).
    • Edema of the upper respiratory tract

    Diagnosis of the depth of the lesion

    Chemical burns can usually be diagnosed by the skin lesion and the anamnesis (history) of the burn by examining the size, depth and other characteristics of the burn.

    Additional methods include

    • Blood tests: complete blood count and other laboratory tests.
    • Endoscopic examination of the esophagus and stomach: performed if the patient has swallowed a chemical.
    • Eye examination: An ophthalmologist examines the condition of the eyes and the function (acuity) of vision. The presence of signs of loss of vision is checked, the depth of the burn is determined.
    • Computed tomography (CT or MRI) imaging : Imaging studies help identify damage within the body due to chemical ingestion, especially perforations in the esophagus or stomach.

    Chemical burn first aid

    Once a chemical burn has occurred, first aid must be given.

    • Remove contaminated clothing
    • Wash affected area with plenty of water. Rinse for at least 20 minutes, making sure that water does not get on unaffected areas of the skin.
    • Flushing with running water within 10 minutes of a burn has been shown to reduce wound severity and hospital stay.
    • Try to make sure that water can drain easily from the affected area without pooling on the skin. Use only water
    • Use gloves or other protective material to cover your hands and, if possible, carefully cut off clothing such as T-shirts rather than pulling them over your head
    • spread of infection
    • If the chemical has dried, shake it off the skin

    Washing the area of ​​a chemical burn

    Chemical burns involving metals (lithium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) must not be washed with water as this may lead to a chemical reaction that aggravates the burn. These types of chemical burns should be soaked in mineral oil while awaiting medical attention.

    Chemical burn treatment

    People with mild chemical burns do not require hospitalization. For more severe burns, patients should be treated as for a typical thermal burn. In some situations, an antidote may be given to neutralize and counteract the irritating chemical agent.

    For example, hydrofluoric acid burns should be treated immediately with calcium gluconate gel applied every 15 minutes, so the gel should be stored in appropriate work areas.

    Hydrofluoric acid burn, treatment steps

    The main therapeutic goals for treating burn wounds are:

    • Carefully monitor the wound
    • Keep the wound clean
    • Prevent the wound from drying out
    • Control secondary infection.

    If the burn is severe, the patient is treated in a specialized burn unit.

    Some patients may need surgery to remove the burned area of ​​skin and replace it with a piece of skin (graft) taken from another part of your body.

    More severe and deep burns may take months or even years to heal completely and usually leave visible scarring. In some cases, the depth and location of the burn can also lead to problems such as loss of vision or limited use of limbs or muscles.

    What not to do with a chemical burn

    Minor burns

    Minor burns that affect the outer layer of skin and part of the underlying tissue usually heal with good ongoing burn care, leaving minimal scarring.

    The dressing will need to be checked and changed regularly until the burn is completely healed to prevent infection.

    Severe burns

    If the burn is severe, you may be referred to a specialist burn unit.

    Some patients may need surgery to remove the burned area of ​​skin and replace it with a piece of skin (graft) taken from another part of your body. Read more – Plastic Surgery Techniques for more information.

    More severe and deep burns may take months or even years to heal completely and usually leave visible scarring. In some cases, the depth and location of the burn can also lead to problems such as loss of vision or limited use of limbs or muscles.

    The result of reconstructive surgery after a burn, the author’s archive

    Complications of chemical burns

    Some patients who have had severe chemical burns may experience complications, including:

    • disfigurement
    • loss of limbs
    • scarring
    • muscle injury and tissues
    • development of depression

    Keloid scar and its removal

    Prognosis for chemical burns

    Most mild chemical burns heal without scarring. However, long-term effects of severe chemical burns may include:

    • Cancer of the skin, stomach, or esophagus.
    • Esophageal strictures (narrowing of the esophagus, sometimes due to scarring).
    • Perforations (holes) in the stomach, esophagus or cornea.
    • Scars.
    • Skin discoloration.
    • Loss of vision.

    What to do first in case of burns at home

    For treatment of a first degree burn it is recommended:

    1. Cool the burn. Immerse the burn immediately in cool tap water or apply cold, wet compresses. Do this for about 10 minutes or until the pain subsides.
    2. Cover the burn with sterile dressing . If blisters form, let them heal on their own without covering the area. Do not pop blisters.
    3. Taking over-the-counter painkillers.
      Paracetamol or ibuprofen can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
    4. Protect the area from the sun . Once the burn has healed, protect the area from the sun by finding shade, wearing protective clothing, or applying broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This will help minimize scarring, as redness from a burn sometimes persists for several weeks.

    First degree burns usually heal on their own without medical treatment. However, if the first-degree burn is very large, if the victim is an infant, child under 12, or an elderly person, or if you think the burn is more severe, contact a specialized burn unit immediately.

    Preventing Chemical Burns

    Prevent chemical burns by:

    • Always read and follow instructions when using products containing chemicals.
    • Always wear protective gloves and goggles when using or storing chemicals.
    • Pay attention to all warnings on the packaging.
    • Always wash your hands after using a chemical product.
    • Make sure all chemical containers are labeled.
    • Always store chemicals in a safe place. It must be out of the reach of children.


    1. Acid and chemical burns, https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/skin-injuries/acid-and-chemical-burns
    2. Chemical burn, https://dermnetnz.org/topics/ chemical-burn
    3. Chemical burns – first aid and treatment, https://www. healthdirect.gov.au/chemical-burns
    4. Images, https://dermnetnz.org/topics/chemical-burn

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        Ointments and creams for burns: antiseptic, healing, scars

        Types of burns

        Thermal (thermal)

        In everyday life, women and small children are most often burned. Touching a hot iron and a hot frying pan, steam burns while cooking are the most common causes of thermal (thermal) burns.


        Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) can cause sunburn – painful redness, in some cases with the formation of “bubbles” followed by peeling.


        If aggressive chemicals (alkalis, acids, salts of heavy metals, caustic liquids) come into contact with the skin, a chemical burn is formed .

        Electrical burns

        Electrical burns of the soft tissues of the body occur when an electric shock electric current.

        Thermal skin burn

        Thermal burn occurs as a result of high temperature exposure to the skin and underlying tissues. How to provide first aid, and how are such injuries treated?


        Degrees of skin and tissue damage

        Regardless of the cause of the burn, the degree of skin damage is determined.

        First degree burns are characterized by soreness, swelling and redness of the skin.

        In case of second degree burn a, blistering or crusting is added to the above symptoms.

        Third and fourth degree burns are characterized by damage to the deep layers of the skin with the appearance of dead tissue and a scab – a dry crust. Such serious burns must be treated under medical supervision. Surgical treatment of the burn focus is necessary to remove dead tissue, suture the defect, and a skin flap transplant may be required.

        First aid for burns

        Immediately after contact with a traumatic agent, first aid must be given. Treatment tactics depend on the cause of the burn.

        In the event of chemical burns with , first flush the burn area with plenty of running water. Then use slightly alkaline or slightly acid solutions to neutralize the chemical:

        • For burns with acid, apply a 2-3% solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
        • For alkali burns – 2-5% solution of acetic or citric acid.

        It is necessary to stop heat exposure to the skin

        Cool the skin with cold water, ice

        Apply a bandage

        How to treat burns 90 098

        The need to seek medical attention will depend on the severity of the burn, the area of ​​skin damage. Most people get burns at home. As a rule, these are thermal and sunburns of 1-2 degrees.

        A home medicine cabinet for treating such skin lesions should have soothing and regenerating ointments and creams . With an active inflammatory reaction, but in the absence of suppuration, external anti-inflammatory hormonal preparations may be needed.

        When blisters form, the risk of suppuration of the burn surface increases, therefore it is necessary to use external antiseptics .

        Drying solutions and ointments, for example containing tannin or oak bark extract, and wet-drying dressings reduce the release of excess moisture (wetting) of the skin and help the exudate to dry into a crust. For the speedy restoration of the upper layer of the skin, Healing accelerators .

        For sunburn, antiallergic drugs are indicated orally 1 .

        In case of violation of the integrity of the skin, it is necessary to carry out antiseptic treatment.

        Treatment of burns

        Open wound surfaces are subject to mandatory antiseptic treatment. The most important task is to prevent the risks of infectious complications. To do this, you need:

        Flush damage

        You can wash the wound with a solution of furacilin, chlorhexidine.

        Decontaminate the wound

        After washing on a fresh burn surface, it is better to use disinfectants that do not cause additional pain. For example, solution Betadine ® . Unlike traditional alcohol-containing solutions (brilliant green, ordinary iodine, fucorcin), povidone-iodine does not cause discomfort – burning and dryness. This makes the solution comfortable to use even on burn surfaces.

        Preparations Betadine ® – available in various dosage forms (solution, ointment). These forms of the medicinal substance can be attributed to modern antiseptics containing povidone-iodine. The complex of iodine and povidone made it possible not to use alcohol in the formula of this drug. The absence of a local irritant effect makes it possible to use Betadine ® both in adults and children in the treatment and treatment of even fresh burns. When used externally, povidone-iodine is almost not absorbed into the bloodstream and has a wide spectrum of action against a variety of dangerous microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, unicellular protozoa and herpes virus 2.14 .

        Dressing with healing ointment

        How to choose an ointment for burns

        From a medical point of view, burns are wounds. Therefore, the approach to the treatment of burns and wounds is the same. The choice of remedy will depend on the degree of damage to the burned area .

        Ointments for burns in the inflammatory phase

        The first phase (inflammatory ) ends by the end of the first week. Throughout this time, a protective crust forms, but the risk of infection of the wound with pathogens remains. Therefore, when carrying out dressings, it is recommended to continue treatment with antiseptic preparations.

        Povidone-iodine ointment (Betadine®)

        Along with solution Betadine ® ointment Betadine ® is used, which is indicated for the treatment and treatment of wounds and abrasions 4 . An ointment based on povidone-iodine ( Betadine ® ) is used during dressing. Gently without rubbing, the agent is distributed 2-3 times a day over the entire area of ​​the burn surface, then bandaged. Povidone-iodine disinfects, and macrogol, which is part of the ointment, “pulls out” pus from the wound in which the infection has appeared. For example, when treating infected wounds under wipes soaked in a solution or ointment Betadine ® , during the first 5-7 days edema and the amount of purulent discharge decrease, there is a decrease in pain 3 . Ointment and solution Betadine ® are approved for use in adults and children from the age of one month 2.4 .


        Where to buy Betadine® ointment?





        Find the nearest pharmacy0003

        Precautions when using povidone-iodine (Betadine®)

        Avoid getting povidone-iodine products in the eyes! If itching or redness of the skin occurs, the use of these antiseptics must be discontinued.

        Considering that this is an iodine-containing preparation, in case of thyroid disease, it is necessary to consult a doctor before use.

        Silver sulfadiazine ointment

        Silver sulfadiazine ointment has an antimicrobial effect based on damage to bacterial cell membranes 7 . It is used to treat infected burn wounds, transplanted skin areas, as well as to prevent infection from attaching to a damaged skin area. Apply the ointment 1-2 times a day for no longer than 3 weeks 12 .

        Despite the fact that by the end of the first and the beginning of the second phase of healing a protective crust begins to form, the possibility of infection remains. Therefore, it is recommended to carry out antiseptic treatment until the formation of a full-fledged crust .

        Ointments and creams for burns in the regeneration phase

        In the second phase of healing, the regeneration phase , connective tissue begins to grow from the bottom of the wound to the surface and new vessels sprout. Therefore, to accelerate healing, along with antiseptic agents, healing ointments can be used.

        Pantothenic acid ointments

        Pantothenic acid and derivatives ointments are restorative agents with some anti-inflammatory activity 5 . Suitable for minor scratches, abrasions, light burns 5 . Ointments are applied to the skin 2-4 times a day 5 , the course of application is selected individually.

        Creams based on water extract of wheat

        Agents that activate tissue repair 6 . These funds activate regenerative processes in tissues, are indicated for the healing of abrasions, burns II-III degree, poorly healing wounds. Gauze dressings or cream are applied to the wound surface 1-2 r/day 6 . The course is selected individually.

        Cream based on lanthanum salt

        The cream has an analgesic, regenerating, wound-healing effect. It also has a bactericidal effect – causes the death of pathogens. These remedies are indicated for various skin lesions, including burns 9 . Apply to damaged areas, allowing the drug to be absorbed. The course of application is until the wound is completely healed 7 .

        Preparations with a combination of aminitrosole + methyluracil + sea buckthorn oil

        They have an antibacterial effect and restore damaged tissues. Indicated for the treatment of II-III degree burns 8 . Apply to the affected area with a layer of 1 cm thick 1-2 times a day, the course of application is selected individually by the attending physician 8 .

        To accelerate healing and restore the upper layer of the skin, specialists prescribe vitamins, homeopathic medicines, and carry out systemic therapy to improve blood circulation and tissue nutrition.

        Ointments, creams and gels in the phase of scar tissue maturation

        Depending on the severity of the burn, scarring may remain. The maturation of scar tissue occurs in the third phase of wound healing.

        The ripening stage lasts up to three months. The scar flattens and turns pale. At this stage of skin treatment, scar remedies may be prescribed.

        Silicone-based gels and creams

        Silicone-based creams and gels create conditions for normal collagen synthesis, which prevents the growth of scar tissue and improves the appearance of existing scars. Apply 2 times a day to healed skin for up to 3 months 9 .

        Hyaluronidase cream

        Topical preparations containing the enzyme hyaluronidase reduce the height of the scar, reduce the color intensity and increase the elasticity of the skin of the damaged area. The cream is applied to the scars 2 times a day for 1-1.5 months 10 .

        Always consult your doctor before using any burn cream.


        Is it possible to wet the burn surface during treatment?

        During the healing period of III-IV degree burns, it is desirable to limit water procedures. Firstly, to prevent infection of the burn surface. And secondly, water will soften the protective crust, which will contribute to its premature discharge and delay the duration of healing.

        How long does it take for burns to heal?

        The duration of healing will be affected by the severity of the burn and the area of ​​damage to the skin and soft tissues.

        With the first degree of burns, the skin will recover within 3-5 days. In the second degree – healing can take up to 14 days, a temporary violation of pigmentation is possible at the site of damage: the appearance of light or dark spots as a response to skin damage. With IV degree burns, it is difficult to give a prognosis, since tissue necrosis is extensive and deep.

        Mistakes to avoid when treating burns:

        • For first aid, do not use vegetable and mineral oils, alcohol or alcohol-containing preparations.
        • Medicinal creams, ointments, solutions may only be used if the instructions for the product indicate that they are allowed to be used on burn surfaces.
        • Do not apply decorative cosmetics to an unhealed wound.
        • Do not soak the crusts in the bath, sauna, swimming pool. From the wound surface, the crust should come off by itself. Premature rejection of the crust delays the healing time, promotes infection of the wound and the formation of coarse scar tissue.
        • Do not tear off clothes stuck to the skin on your own.
        • Do not pop bubbles yourself.

        Moshkova Elena Mikhailovna

        Dermatovenereologist, head of the KDO for the provision of paid services, St. Petersburg State Budgetary Institution of Healthcare “City Dermatovenerological Dispensary”, St. Petersburg

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        1. Butova Yu.S., Skripkin Yu.K., Ivanov O.L. National guide to dermatovenereology// GEOTAR-Media, Moscow 2013. edited by prof., acad.