Burn Care Dos and Don’ts
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LVHN offers one of the nation's most advanced burn centers. Learn more about the Burn Recovery Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.
Many burn injuries can be prevented, but accidents do happen. “If you or someone with you suffers a burn injury, it’s important you know what to do and what not to do,” says Daniel Lozano, MD, LVHN's Chief, Department of Surgery- Division of Burn and surgeon with LVHN's Burn Recovery Center.
Here are burn injury dos and don’ts.
Do: Remove clothing that has been burned or soaked with hot fluid or chemicals, and jewelry in the affected area.
Don't: Remove burned clothing that is stuck to the body.
Do: Run tap water or room-temperature water over the burn immediately. It stops the burning process, decreases the pain and prevents or reduces swelling.
Don't: Use very cold water or ice on a burn. It can cause more skin damage.
Do: (In the event of a severe burn) apply a clean, dry cloth to the burned area after it is cooled and seek medical care.
Don't: (In the event of a severe burn) apply ointments, jellies, sprays, first aid creams or butter.
Do: See a doctor if blisters are large or contain a cloudy fluid, or if the burned area is oozing fluid.
Don't: Break open small blisters with clear fluid inside because this could let germs into the wound.
Do: See a doctor if:
- The burn is white, pink, red or brown; or appears dry, leathery or charred.
- The burn is larger than them victim’s palm.
- Hands, feet, face, eyes or genitalia are burned.
- Electricity or chemicals caused the burn.
- Smoke or toxic fumes affected the person.
- The person has a chronic health condition such as diabetes.
- The person is an infant, young child or senior citizen.
- The person complains of being cold or is shivering. (It’s OK to cover him or her with a blanket.)
Don't: Assume the burn injury is minor. Even a small burn can be serious depending on its location and the age of the victim.