How to Properly Treat a Burn Injury

October 6, 2021 Posted In Personal Injury

Burn injuries can be excruciating and may lead to a host of secondary and sometimes life-threatening complications. Ensuring they are properly treated is essential to prevent other problems and, in some cases, may even save your life. First, assess what type of burn is involved, as the nature and degree of the burn will impact what treatment is needed.


A first-degree burn can usually be treated with first aid at home. This burn affects the top layer of skin, so most will be close if not healed within 7-10 days without scarring. To be safe, follow these treatment recommendations:

  • Soak the burn in cool water or a cool, wet compress for 5-10 minutes
  • Apply lidocaine (an anesthetic) or petroleum jelly to soothe the skin
  • Protect the burned area with an antibiotic ointment and loose gauze
  • For pain relief, take Tylenol or ibuprofen


Second–degree burns may require professional medical attention but often can be treated, at least initially, with home care. The victim might also need to see a burn center or a specialist for proper treatment depending on the severity and area affected. The significant risk with second-degree burns is infection. Keeping the burn area clean and applying bandages is essential. Some victims require skin grafts, depending on how large an area was burned.

Immediately after the burn: 

  • Run cool water over the burned area for at least 15 minutes
  • Apply antibiotic ointments to blisters to prevent infections
  • Take Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain relief
  • If you have any doubts as to whether emergency or other professional treatment is needed, err on the side of caution and see a doctor.


Third-degree burns are severe and will require immediate, possibly life-saving medical treatment. These burns destroy the nerves and, therefore, may not cause pain in the immediate area of the burn. A third-degree burn victim should never attempt to treat one of these injuries themselves, as they may lead to serious infection, scarring, blood loss, shock, or even death. Call 911 and follow the responder’s instructions for how to stabilize the victim until medical assistance arrives.

After the initial treatment, the victim can face the following medical care:

  • Treatment for dehydration
  • Burn creams and ointments
  • Wound dressings to promote healing
  • Tetanus shots
  • Antibiotics to fight infection
  • Skin graft surgeries
  • Help with anxiety and other psychological impacts of the burn

Treatment for burns can be extensive and expensive. If another individual or company was responsible for you or a loved one’s burn injury, the at-fault party should be liable for the expenses and other damages (such as missed time from work) associated with it. Apart from medical attention for the burn, the victim (or a loved one, if necessary) should document why the serious injury happened in the first place to begin collecting evidence of the at-fault party’s liability. 

Speak to a Burn Injury Lawyer

Discuss your options for obtaining compensation with a highly skilled Riverside Burn Injury Lawyer in a free consultation. 

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