Slight Burns And Scalds - First Aid - Treatment

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Slight Burns And Scalds - First Aid - Treatment
Slight Burns And Scalds - First Aid - Treatment

Video: Slight Burns And Scalds - First Aid - Treatment

Video: Slight Burns And Scalds - First Aid - Treatment
Video: First Aid: How to Treat Burns 2023, March

Slight burns or scalds

A burn or scald is an injury to the skin or underlying tissues from excessive heat. Burns are caused by dry heat, e.g. fire, hot objects. Chemicals, electricity or solar radiation can also cause burns. Scalding is caused, for example, by hot liquids or vapors.

Small, superficial burns are common and can usually be treated by laypeople. The minor injuries usually heal in a short time. In the event of a severe burn, rapid medical care is necessary. Most burns occur in the home or as a result of an accident at work. The risk of burns is increased in children and the elderly. In general, men are affected significantly more often than women.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • What are the symptoms?
  • Burns and scalds in children
  • First aid
  • Self-treatment of minor burns
  • When is medical treatment necessary?
  • How is the diagnosis made?
  • How is a burn or scald treated?
  • What complications can arise?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

The skin can temporarily compensate for heat up to approx. 50 degrees. The tissue is damaged by higher heat. With increasing temperature and exposure to heat, the tissue damage to the skin becomes more severe and affects deeper and deeper layers of the skin. The upper skin (epidermis), the leather skin (dermis) and the subcutaneous tissue (subcutis) are affected.

What are the symptoms?

Signs of a burn or scald, depending on the severity of the injury:

  • Reddened, peeling skin,
  • Blow,
  • Swelling as well
  • white or charred skin.

Light burns can be painful. In severe burns, the sensation of pain is disturbed due to the destroyed nerve endings, and the patient usually feels little or no acute pain.

Burns and scalds in children

Burns and scalds are among the most common accidents in childhood. Medical treatment is indicated. For information on first aid and important tips for avoiding serious accidents, see: Emergency in children: Burns and scalds.

First aid

First aid and rapid first aid are crucial for the course of a burn or scald. Early measures prevent further skin damage and increase the chances of survival in the event of a severe burn. For detailed information on first aid measures, see Emergency: Burns and Emergency: Electricity Accident.

Sunburn can also cause symptoms of a burn on the skin and trigger heat stroke. More information under Emergency: Heat stroke.

Self-treatment of minor burns

Minor burns or scalds will heal on their own. Signs are local reddening and swelling of the skin, possibly small blisters. Small burns can be cooled with lukewarm or cold water to relieve pain and limit skin damage. A bandage is usually not necessary for light, superficial burns. Blisters should not be opened.

Small, deeper burn wounds or blisters can be loosely covered with a sterile bandage or plaster, advantageously with a metal coating (silver). This is to protect the wound from infection. The bandage should be changed about once a day as needed. Ointment, powder, toothpaste, or any other agent should not be applied to an open wound. Only when a crust or scab has formed after a few days can a nourishing wound and healing ointment support further healing.

If you are unsure about the severity of the burn, seek medical help. Ask your doctor what you can do to take care of the wound yourself.

When is medical treatment necessary?

In the case of deeper, more extensive burns or scalds, rapid medical care is necessary, e.g. in a hospital. This applies, for example, to the following cases:

  • Burn injuries with white or charred skin,
  • Burns with blistering on an exposed part of the body, e.g. face, hands, fingers, genitals, feet or joints,
  • burn injuries caused by chemicals or electric current,
  • Burns in a child or an elderly person,
  • Signs of infection in the wound.

How is the diagnosis made?

The doctor's assessment of the depth and extent of the tissue damage is crucial for further treatment of the burn or scald.

The degree of burn describes how deep a burn is.

  • First degree burn: reddening, swelling, pain, only the epidermis affected, heals without scars within approx. Ten days.
  • Second degree burn: reddening of the skin, blistering, severe pain.
  • 2a burn: superficial, epidermis and dermis affected, healing within approx. Two weeks.
  • 2b burn: deep involvement of the dermis and deeper layers of the skin affected, whitish discoloration of the skin, does not heal without scars, surgery necessary.

Third degree burn: Dermis and subcutis affected black and white tissue damage, no pain as nerve endings are destroyed, irreversible skin damage, surgery necessary

The doctor will assess the extent of the burn on the basis of the visible tissue damage. For example, a burn of the arm corresponds to around nine percent of the body area of an adult, the chest and abdomen or a leg around 18 percent (rule of 9). A palm corresponds to one percent of the body area (palm rule).

How is a burn or scald treated?

The doctor cleans and treats the injury - usually with a sterile special bandage - and checks the vaccination against tetanus. Ev. the patient receives a pain reliever. Severe burns require intensive medical treatment in the hospital in a special department for burn injuries. For more information, see Severe Burn or Scald.

What complications can arise?

Even a second degree burn with a burn area of more than 20 percent of the total body surface can lead to a life-threatening burn disease. The result is a circulatory shock and a general inflammatory reaction of the body, in the worst case with loss of function of organs that are initially completely uninvolved (e.g. acute kidney failure). In children and infants, the danger is already given at an extent of ten or five percent.

Severe burns weaken the immune system. Therefore the risk of infection of the wound is increased. Signs of a wound infection are, for example, reddening, swelling, warming of the wound, increasing pain or fever. In the event of a wound infection, rapid medical care is necessary.

Whom can I ask?

For the treatment of minor burns or scalds, you can, among other things, contact your family doctor or a specialist in skin diseases.

In an emergency of severe burns / scalds, call the ambulance at 144. Severe burns are treated as inpatients in a hospital.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The e-card is your personal key to the benefits of the statutory health insurance. All necessary and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures are taken over by your responsible social insurance agency. A deductible or contribution to costs may apply for certain services. You can obtain detailed information from your social security agency. Further information can also be found at:

  • Right to treatment
  • Visit to the doctor: costs and deductibles
  • What does the hospital stay cost?
  • Prescription fee: This is how drug costs are covered
  • Rehabilitation & cure
  • Medical aids & aids
  • Health Professions AZ

and via the online guide to reimbursement of social insurance costs.

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