A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for burns include:
Age: less than four years
Low socioeconomic status
Illegal drug use
Absent or non-functioning smoke detectors
Substandard or older housing
Unsupervised or improperly supervised children
Using tap water hotter than 120°F
Burn symptoms and signs vary depending on the type of burn.
Burned area turns red and is painful
The area blanches (turns white) when you press on it
The area may swell, but it is dry and there is no blistering
Superficial Partial-Thickness Burn
The area is moist, red, and weeping
The area blanches (turns white) when you press on it
Painful to air and temperature
Deep Partial-Thickness Burn
Blisters, usually loose and easily unroofed
The area can be wet or waxy dry
The skin color can vary from patchy, to cheesy white, to red
The area does not blanch (turn white) with pressure
May or may not be painful, can perceive pressure
Skin can appear waxy white, leathery gray, or charred and blackened
May not be painful if nerves have been damaged, the only sensation may be to deep pressure
The doctor will ask how the burn occurred and will examine the burned area.
Treatment will depend on the cause of the burn, how deep the burn is, and how wide an area of the body is covered. Doctors have methods and charts to estimate the total percentage of body surface area (TBSA) affected by the injury. This estimate is age dependent; for example, the head represents a larger percentage of surface area in a baby than in an adult.
Treatment for a burn depends on the cause. Quick treatment is important and can lessen the damage to the tissues. First aid for minor burns may involve:
Cooling the burn with running water or a cold damp cloth. Do not use ice—this may result in more damage to the skin.
Do not use butter, grease, oils, or ointments on the burn.
Cover the burn with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
Do not use a fluffy cloth such as a towel or blanket.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like
Do not break or pop any blisters.
This may result in an infection.
If you see signs of infection, get medical attention. Signs of infection include:
Oozing of pus
Once a minor burn is completely cooled, you can consider using a fragrance-free lotion or moisturizer to prevent drying and make the area more comfortable.
For more serious burns, like deep partial-thickness or full-thickness burns, seek medical attention or call 911. Until an emergency unit arrives:
Do not take off any clothing that is stuck to the burn.
Make sure the victim is not near or in contact with any smoldering materials, or exposed to further smoke or heat.
Do not soak the burn in water, but you can cover the area with a cool, moist sterile bandage or clean cloth.
As with any severe injury, make sure the person is breathing and administer
If you are diagnosed with more than a minor burn, follow your doctor's
A doctor will decide if hospitalization is necessary based on many factors. These include age, the cause of the burn, and the extent and depth of the burn. Reasons to hospitalize a person who has more than a minor burn may include:
Age: younger than five years or older than 55 years
Suspected child abuse
Very small, deep burns on the hands, face, eyes, feet, or perineum (groin/genital area)
Extensive burn: using TBSA and age charts
Burns that may require complicated dressing changes, elevation, or continued physician observation
High-voltage injury or burn
Suspected or known inhalation injury
Other medical problems that predispose a person to infection, such as:
Splints—placed on joints to help maintain mobility
Physical therapy, in the case of large burns
Most burns are the result of accidents. To prevent burns:
about fire prevention and keep dangerous materials out of reach.
Make sure smoke detectors are installed and in working order. Replace batteries twice a year.
(One way to remember to do this is to change batteries the same days you change the clocks for daylight savings time.)
When cooking, keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
Supervise young children in the kitchen and around fireworks.
Set the temperature on the water heater to less than 120°F and test the bath water before your child gets in.
Make sure children’s sleep wear is flame-retardant.
Don’t hold children in your arms or lap while cooking, serving, or eating hot foods or liquids.
Do not leave matches, lighters, candles, or burning cigarettes unattended.
Wear protective gloves and clothing when handling caustic chemicals.
Put protective covers on electrical outlets.
Do not wear loose-fitting sleeves while cooking.
Keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking.
Make sure electrical cords are not hanging over the edge of countertops.
Store chemicals and cleaners in a locked cabinet.
Children younger than one year can sustain partial-thickness burns from hot seat belt straps or buckles in car seats. Make sure car seats are not hot before putting a child in the seat. If you park in the sun, cover the seat with a towel.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a