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First-Degree (Minor) Burns

If you’ve ever spent a lengthy amount of time outside, you’ve probably experienced sunburn or at least been sure to cover up with sunscreen so you didn’t get one. You may not think much about them because sunburns are pretty common in the summer, but did you know that sunburn is actually a type of first-degree burn?

First-degree burns or superficial burns affect the first layer of your skin and are the mildest form of skin injury from burns. Superficial burns can often be treated with home remedies; however, larger or more painful first-degree burns may need professional medical attention.

Causes of first-degree burns:

  • Sunburns: When you stay out in the sun too long, UV rays can cause your skin to burn, blister, and peel. 
  • Scalds: Scalds are common first-degree burns and are caused by coming into contact with an extremely hot liquid. For example, hot shower water or liquids that are being heated on the stove can cause first-degree burns. Children are especially susceptible to these types of burns. 
  • Electricity: Electrical outlets pose a danger to both children and adults. It isn’t uncommon for children get first-degree electrical burns from sticking objects into electrical outlets or chewing on cords.

How to Treat a First-Degree Burn

First Degree Burn TreatmentFirst-Degree Burns are the most minor type of burns and often can be treated at home. Only the outermost skin layer is affected. The area will be red, painful, and swollen, but no blisters will be present. The burn should heal in about 3-6 days or until the outer skin layer sheds. Treatment for first-degree burns may include:

  • Soaking the burn in cool (not cold) water for five minutes
  • Applying burn creams, aloe vera, or antibiotic ointment
  • Covering the burn with loose gauze
  • Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling

If your burn becomes extremely painful, swollen, or infected, a trip to your local FastMed Urgent Care is in order. A FastMed medical professional will be able to assess the severity of your burn and provide you with the care and treatment you need to have you feeling better fast.

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