Most are minor injuries that occur at home or work from items such as hot water, a curling iron, or touching a hot stove. All that is needed for healing and to prevent other problems is simple home treatment.

Types of burns

  • Heat burns (thermal burns)
    • Caused by fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids
    • The most common burns to children and older adults are Scald burns from hot liquids.
  • Cold temperature burns
    • caused by skin exposure to wet, windy, or cold conditions.
  • Electrical burns
    • caused by contact with electrical sources or by lightning.
  • Chemical burns
    • Caused by contact with household or industrial chemicals in a liquid, solid, or gas form.
    • Natural foods such as chili peppers, which contain a substance irritating to the skin, can cause a burning sensation.
  • Radiation burns
    • Caused by the sun, tanning booths, sunlamps, X-rays, or radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
  • Friction burns
    • Caused by contact with any hard surface such as roads (“road rash”), carpets, or gym floor surfaces. They are usually both a scrape (abrasion) and a heat burn

Immediately inform your physician:

  • For any electrical burn you can see, even if it looks minor.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You are not sure how serious the burn is.
  • You have a burn worse than a mild sunburn on your face, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint.
  • Pain from the burn lasts longer than 48 hours.
  • You have signs of infection. These may include increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness; red streaks leading from the burn; pus; and fever.
  • A child younger than 5, an older adult, or a person with a weak immune system or a chronic health problem (such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes) is burned.
  • There is a chance the burn was caused on purpose.


Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
    • Physician will determing the percentage of your total body surface area that is affected and if you have sustained any burns involving your eyes, face, ears, hands, groin or feet
  • Other examination procedures or lab tests may be done



Non Prescription Medication

  • For fever or pain:
    • Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
    • Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
    • Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
    • Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin

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