Hot water burns or scald burns are the most common type of burn related injuries, especially in children. According to the City of Rochester Hills, Fire Department, Michigan, each year over 112,000 people in the US visit the emergency room for scald or hot water burns. It is important for a doctor to take a look and suggest the most appropriate treatment for such burns. However, you can administer first aid immediately at home before you get to the doctor’s.
Hot water burns can cause severe tissue damage and destroy numerous cells on the skin.
- Pour cold water over the scalded area so that the skin cools and the heat reduces. It is best to place the affected area under a tap of cold running water for around 15 minutes or so. You could also dip the affected part in a pan or bucket of clean water.
- Try to ensure that there is no clothing or jewelry near the affected part, as the skin will soon begin to swell. However, do not try to force the jewelry off if it seems to be stuck to the skin.
- Keep the burnt area above the heart, to minimize the swelling. Make sure that the area stays elevated for an hour at least.
- Pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it, to prevent further tissue damage. Only apply an ointment or a cream if it has been prescribed by a doctor.
- Wrap the burnt area loosely with some gauze, in order to prevent infections.
- Reduce the pain and swelling in the area by placing a cold compress on top of the gauze.
As the skin heals, blisters will be formed to protect the delicate skin tissue. Never pop these blisters or pick at the peeling skin, as you could increase your risks of developing an infection.
Home Remedies For Hot Water Burns
During the recuperation process, there are several home remedies you can also use to speed up the healing process. Some of the best home remedies for hot water burns include:
- Ice: Rinse an ice cube and place it directly on the affected part of the skin. This repairs the damaged tissue and helps the burned skin heal faster.
- Milk: Soak the burned area in a pan of cool milk for about 15 minutes. Alternately, you can dip a piece of cloth into cold milk before applying it to the burned skin. For best results repeat the exercise after a few hours.
- Tea: The tannic acid present in black tea helps to draw out the heat from hot water burns. Place around 3 or 4 tea bags under a spout of cold water and collect the tea in a clean pan. Dab the collected tea on the burned area gently.
- Oatmeal: As your skin heals, the affected area may feel excessively itchy. The best home remedy to relieve the itching is an oatmeal bath. Fill your bathtub with some lukewarm water and pour 2 cups of plain, uncooked oatmeal in the tub. Soak in the oatmeal bath for about 15 minutes and then air-dry your body, so that a thin layer of oatmeal remains on the skin.
While home remedies and first aid can be used to treat hot water burns, it is important for a doctor to check the burn too.