Burns are the fifth cause of accidental deaths in children and adults, killing nearly 3,500 adults and children each year. Among children 4 years of age and under who are hospitalized for burns, scalding is the cause 65 percent of the time.(1)
Seventy-five percent of scalding burns are preventable.(1)
If you have children in the house, stop reading right now and turn down your water heater to 120º.(2)
A second-degree burn is more serious than a first-degree burn and usually forms a blister. A second-degree burn occurs when the epidermis and dermis layer of skin are burned.
It is recommended that if a second-degree burn is over more than 10 percent of your body, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
According to various medical sources, symptoms of second-degree burns include:
- Blisters: they sometimes break open and the area looks wet with a bright pink to cherry red color
- Swollen skin
- Red or splotchy skin color
- Severe pain
- Deep redness
- Burned area which may appear wet and shiny
- Skin which is painful to the touch
- Burned area which may be white or discolored in an irregular pattern
Treatments for Second-Degree Burns(4)
If a burn is caused by electricity or chemicals, call 911 immediately. For any type of burn in a child, contact your doctor’s office for guidance as to how to proceed.
For other burn injuries, seek immediate medical attention for a second-degree burn that is more than 2 or 3 inches wide, or covering the hands, feet, face, groin or joints of the body.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends the following tips on how to treat a second degree burn:
- Soak the burn in cool water for 15 to 30 minutes
- For small burns, place a damp, cool, clean cloth on the burn for a few minutes every day
- Put on an antibiotic cream or other creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor
- Cover the burn with a dry non-stick dressing held in place with gauze or tape
- For pain and swelling, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
1) Burns in Children. StanfordChildrens.org. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
2) Preventing Burn Injuries. StanfordChildrens.org. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
3) Second-Degree Burns (Partial Thickness Burns). Retrieved August 11, 2016. StanfordChildrens.org.
4) Burns. MedlinePlus.gov. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
5) Burns . KidsHealth - the Web's most visited site about children's health. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
6) Burns | Dr. Sears Official Website | Parenting Advice, Parenting Books & more. Dr. Sears Official Website | Parenting Advice, Parenting Books & more. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
7) First Aid: Burns -- familydoctor.org. Health information for the whole family -- familydoctor.org. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
8) Burns. University of Maryland Medical Center | Home. Retrieved August 15, 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/burns
9) Natural Treatment of Burns - Dr. Weil. DrWeil.com - Official Website of Andrew Weil, M.D.. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
10) MORGAN, ERIC D., MAJ, MC, USAAmbulatory Management of Burns. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Nov 1;62(9):2015-2026.