Home Remedies for Burns

Prevention remains the single best way to manage pediatric burn injuries. It may come as no surprise that the majority of burns occur at home and are preventable. But when a burn does occur, how do you treat it? What can you do at home and what needs immediate attention?  Here is some guidance as well as a few effective home remedies for non-severe burns.


Type of Burns

A first-degree burn leaves a redness which heals in 3-7 days spontaneously.

A second-degree burn hurts immensely and looks moist, weepy and shiny. Second degree burn heals within 14-21 days. Second-degree burn also poses a risk of infection. Second-degree burn care involves skin care to prevent infection and debridement of the exfoliated skin.  If a person has a second degree burn they should go under medical care.

A third-degree burn looks dry, yellow and leathery. Since sensory nerve ending is dead, there will not be any pain. This type burn requires surgical intervention.  Third degree burns are usually treated in burn centers and surgical intervention can help improve the function in the long run. In fact, a burn center needs to provide treatment if the child suffers a burn (of any degree) that covers more than 10% of his/her body surface area, a third-degree burn, or any sustained hand, foot, face, or genitalia burn or in cases of electrical or chemical burns, infant-toddler burns, or inhalation injury.


Treatment for Non-Severe Burns

Immediately immerse the affected part in cold water and keep it there for five to 10 minutes with brief breaks. There is a 20-minute critical period during which this treatment is most effective.  Then apply one of the following natural treatments of burns:

Aloe Vera gel: The clear gel that fills the thick leaves of the succulent Aloe Vera plant from Africa is a superior home remedy for burns. (Aloe is so useful that you ought to keep a potted aloe plant in your kitchen to have available in case of an accident.)

To use the fresh plant, cut off a lower leaf near the central stalk, cut off any spines along the edge, split the leaf length-wise, score the gel with the point of your knife, and apply it directly to the burn. It will soon soak into the skin and provide immediate soothing relief. Use it on sunburn, thermal burns, and any areas of skin irritation or inflammation. You can buy aloe products in drugstores and health food stores, but some have too little aloe to do your skin much good. Read labels to determine the percentage of aloe gel in the formula and choose products with the most.

Calendula tincture: This comes from a popular ornamental plant called a pot marigold (It is not a true marigold.). You can buy ready-to-use calendula products in health food stores.

Honey:  Honey can be spectacularly effective for severe burns and is the basis of a therapy in China that has attracted much attention from doctors in the West. It is soothing, antiseptic and healing. However, I wouldn’t depend on the honey from the supermarket – or the health food store – to treat your next burn. Instead, try one of the medicinal honeys.  The type used in New Zealand research on honey for wound healing is known as manuka honey, and is available commercially. German physicians have been using Medihoney for treatment of persistent wounds. But keep in mind that, if you have a bad burn, you should be sure to get prompt medical treatment. It requires considerable expertise to use honey correctly to treat a serious wound.

Lastly, be sure to get medical help for any burn that covers a large area, results in charring of the skin, or becomes infected.

Dr. O

Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville

1102 A1A North, Unit 104, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

32082 / 904-273-6533

4745 Sutton Park Court, Suite 801, Jacksonville,

FL 32224 / 904-743-2100

1633 Race Track Road, Suite 103, Jacksonville,

FL 32259 / 904-287-7000


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