First Degree Burn – Your First Aid Treatment

Burns can be classified into various degrees depending upon the extent of the tissue damage. Fire, heat, chemicals, electricity and hot water are just among the potential causes of tissue damage that occurs with burns. A first degree burn can be considered as a minor condition involving damage only to the outer layer of the skin tissues. However, it can become a potential source of infection once the proper treatment is not given immediately. Here are the useful things that you can do as a first aid treatment for a first degree burn that can help mitigate the potential complications that might occur.

Determine the existence of a first degree burn

A first degree burn usually manifests the symptoms of redness, swelling and pain. It is considered to be a minor condition when it does not affect a substantial portion of the body. When it affects a larger area of more than 2 to 3 inches however, it is best to see a doctor for proper treatment and medication. Seeing a doctor immediately is important when the affected area involves the face, neck and major joints.

Cool the burned area

It is important to relieve the skin from the burning pain and soaking the burned area in cool water can offer a solution. Soaking it for 5 to 10 minutes can help cool down the skin tissues and can help ease the pain felt in the burned area. Alternatively, you can use a cold compress if it makes you feel more comfortable in doing so. In some cases, minor wounds may occur that should be cleaned in order to prevent infection.

first degree burn

Cover the burned area with a gauze to prevent infection

Take medication for pain

First degree burns can hurt no matter how minor it can be. If you find the pain to be unbearable, it is best to take a pain medication like aspirin for better comfort against the painful sensation on the burned skin. Make sure to check for contraindications before you take a pain medication especially when you have an existing medical condition.

Use medicated cream

A burned skin may swell and the inflammation process makes the affected area very sensitive and painful. Applying a medication cream can help soothe the skin and relieves it from the painful sensation.

Cover the affected area

First degree burns usually heal on its own within a week without the need for further treatment. Your goal during the healing process of the condition is to keep the area protected and clean. It is during the first few days after skin damage that infection may set in.

Managing infections on first degree burns

Even minor burns may cause infection. The affected area usually manifests the symptoms of progressive pain, more swelling, oozing and a sign of fever.  When this happens, make sure to seek medical help immediately.

Where to Learn More?

To learn, with hands-on training, on how to manage and recognize 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns register for a course with a credible first aid and / or CPR provider at a location near you.


Family Doctor. First Aid: Burns. Retrieved May 27, 2014 from

Mayo Clinic. First Aid Burns. Retrieved May 27, 2014 from

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