Fast First Aid: How to Treat a Burn

Skip the home remedies! All you need to soothe your child's scalded skin is cool water and a calm head.

Follow these steps to treat a mild burn. Learn what methods work best to stop the pain and start the healing process.

You kid-proofed the kitchen, but your toddler somehow got her hand on that hot stove for a split second, and now she's got an angry red welt.

Poor thing!

Don't rub it or reach for the ice, and definitely skip the butter! All you need is a calm head and some cool water.

WHAT TO DO NOW

As soon as possible, run cool water over the burn for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Cold water may seem better, but this can be tough for little kids to bear for that long.

Don't try to ice the area (it slows the healing process) and avoid rubbing a burn—this can cause blistering.

Powder, butter, mayonnaise, or other kinds of grease are not recommended for a burn and can actually make it worse.

Cover the burn loosely with gauze or a small towel. If small, broken blisters appear, wash the area with soap and water. Dab a bit of antibiotic ointment and then apply the gauze.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If the pain doesn't fade, ask your child's doctor about a dose of an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Seek medial help if large blisters develop, the burn is on the face, or redness, swelling, and pain increase. And contact the doctor if you notice an off odor or pus—these can be signs of an infection.

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