How to treat Superficial or 1st Degree Burns
These are burns which only effect the
Epidermis. Sunburn is a typical example.
does burn thickness mean? and what difference does it make?
thickness is important because the different layers of the skin all
have different functions. Your skin protects and insulates you. It
can grow new skin, regulate body temperature, grow hair, guard
against infection and communicate with your brain about what your
environment feels like. The supple flexibility of your skin allows
you to move and breath.
How deep a burn penetrates through the
layers of the skin determines which of these functions may be damaged
and which of these functions may be lost forever. A close inspection
of the texture, moisture, color and general appearance of a burn will
give you important clues regarding what thickness or “degree”
of burn the patient has suffered.
I cannot stress enough, that
after removing the patient from the source of the
burn, COOLING of the burn
is your really important FIRST
aim, even before you've had a chance to evaluate the depth or extent
of the burn. Just COOL IT.
may just stop a lesser burn from escalating into a major burn.
a garden hose is not available, well soaked towels will do, but
change them frequently.
Contact burns, scalds and fire burns can
continue to penetrate tissue for many minutes, gasoline fire burns
can continue to penetrate for up to 17 minutes, so you need to apply
COOLING for at least 20 minutes to stop the damage from penetrating
NEVER use COLD or ICED
WATER, only COOL water, and only for
20 minutes, otherwise blood circulation to the burns site may be
1st degree or
• These burns involve only the uppermost
layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis. The epidermis is a
thin layer of cells that coat the outer surface of the body. This
thin coating of cells is what we traditionally think of when we
reference the skin.
• The epidermis functions primarily as a
protective layer. It protects us from infection and UV rays.
• Burns of the epidermis are red and painful. They do not
tend to blister.
The most typical variety of superficial burn is sunburn.
Contact burns that redden and hurt but do not blister are also
classified as superficial burns.
Blisters are the first sign of damage to the
dermal layer below the epidermis. If blistering is apparent,
and the area is greater than 1%
After the initial
cooling, and the COOLING is the really
important part, a Burn Cream or Aloe Vera can be applied
to keep the air currents from causing pain.