It is that glorious time of year where the sun is shining, families are out camping, and burns are inevitable. While thermal burns are common and happen year-round, summertime tends to see more burn cases than other times of the year. While we pray you never have to experience harsh burns firsthand, we want to make sure you are well-equipped to handle whatever situation may come your way.
Burns are classified by their severity. Thankfully, most burns are able to be treated at home, but please understand that some burns require immediate medical care. If at any time you feel uncomfortable treating a burn at home, we urge you to seek professional medical care.
Burns are mainly divided into six groups, although we primarily only hear about three; first, second, and third-degree burns.
First-degree burns are burns that only affect the epidermis (the top layer of our skin). These types of burns usually result in a red, slightly swollen appearance, but lack blisters. They are usually accompanied by mild pain or discomfort, but heal on their own within a week.
Second-degree burns affect the top two layers of skin, the epidermis and the dermis. They will likely cause blisters and a lot of pain. These types of burns can be treated at home, but they may need an evaluation from a health care provider.
Third-degree burns affect all three layers of the skin including hair follicles, sweat glands, and underlying tissues. They cause the skin to turn white, brown, and even black. There is little to no pain because of nerve damage. They are not treatable at home, and they require immediate medical care. Wrap the wound in a clean towel or sheet and find the nearest hospital.
Fourth-degree burns affect the layer of fat underneath your skin, fifth-degree the muscle, and sixth-degree burns through to the bone.
There is a time and place for natural medicine and natural remedies, but severe burns are not one of them. Before treating a burn from home, please educate yourself on when it is necessary to go to a hospital. Seek medical care if:
The main thing that makes severe burns so dangerous is our body’s inflammatory response to them. Our body releases inflammatory cells to help repair the burn damage, but the powerful and sudden inflammation can cause organ failure. Burns also suppress immune function, leaving the body more susceptible to infections.
While all of these cautions may seem daunting, we just want you to be aware of when treating a burn naturally may not be the best course of action. Please know that many burns can safely be treated from home. So what should you do if you get burned?
First or Second-Degree Burns
If you get a burn, immediately cool it down. Run the burn under cool (not cold) water for at least 10 minutes. If cool water cannot be tolerated, use a cool compress. Do not submerge the burn in water or use ice to cool the burn. This can actually damage the tissue further. Next, clean the burn. Use a mild soap and cool water to gently clean the wound. Do not break blisters if they are present! This can increase your risk of infection. If the blisters do break on their own, carefully remove the dead skin to decrease infection risk. A health care provider can do this for you if you are uncomfortable. Finally, cover the burn. See what to use to best care for your wound below, as it varies depending on the severity of your burn. Then, cover the burn with sterile gauze.
First-degree burns are fairly common. Think of sunburns. As hard as we try, they seem inevitable this time of year! For mild, first-degree burns, our first line of defense is aloe vera gel. We do use moisturizing oils like coconut oil, but this is not to be done until the burn has cooled completely, as it has a tendency to trap heat, potentially worsening your burn. You can even use calendula oil for its added benefits!
For first-degree burns try our DIY Cooling Burn Cream!
For second-degree burns, do not use coconut oil. If the burn is a minor second-degree burn, you can still use aloe vera and calendula oil to help heal it. For more severe burns with larger blisters, you can use manuka honey, colloidal silver gel, or CBD oil instead.
For more severe burns, try our DIY Restorative Burn Salve!
After you have covered your burn with the best method listed above for your particular burn, it is important to keep it out of the sun and away from heat. More severe burns should be covered with sterile gauze and a loose bandage. Dressings should be changed twice a day to keep your burn clean and moisturized.
To change your dressing, first, make sure you have a clean working environment. Wash your hands and the surface you will be using to hold your supplies or rest your burn on. Next, carefully remove the old dressing. It is normal for some skin to come off with the dressing, or for the wound to bleed a little bit. Discard the old dressing immediately, and begin washing your burn gently with mild soap and water. Do not scrub your burn, just lightly wash away loose skin and old ointment or salve. Once your burn is clean, gently pat it dry and apply more ointment or salve. Then apply more sterile gauze over your burn, and secure it with gauze wrap or first aid tape if the burn cannot be covered with wrap
Healing your Burn Nutritionally
Did you know that you can help ease the healing process along with specific nutrients or supplements? Putting nourishing foods into our bodies daily is a no-brainer, but specific nutrients can lower our body’s inflammatory response and help our skin to heal faster.
Even mild burns can be intimidating. But knowing how to handle them and when to seek medical care is essential for proper recovery. Do you have any burn stories you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Nature knows how to take care of you. And when your body is craving vitamins, supplements, and health support from earth-true resources, you can count on Natural Foods & Supplements of Kearney to have the products and tools you need. Our broad selections of supplements, essential oils, and effective probiotics make it easy to fill your body with goodness. And our holistic offerings like Zaza Boo cosmetics and Himalayan Salt lamps support your wellness from the outside in. Plus, our caring staff is always here to help you find exactly what you're looking for among our variety of offerings. Give your body the tools for wellness and healing, and let nature do the rest.