Burns & scalds are damage to the skin usually caused by heat. Both are treated in the same way.

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A burn is caused by dry heat – by an iron or fire, for example. A scald is caused by something wet, such as hot water or steam.


Burns can be very painful và may cause:

red or peeling skinswellingwhite or charred skin

The amount of pain you feel is not always related lớn how serious the burn is. Even a very serious burn may be relatively painless.

Treating burns and scalds

To treat a burn, follow the first aid advice below:

immediately get the person away from the heat source to lớn stop the burningcool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes – do not use ice, iced water, or any creams or greasy substances like butterremove any clothing or jewellery that"s near the burnt area of skin, including babies" nappies, but vì not move anything that"s stuck to lớn the skinmake sure the person keeps warm by using a blanket, for example, but take care not lớn rub it against the burnt areacover the burn by placing a layer of cling film over it – a clean plastic bag could also be used for burns on your handif the face or eyes are burnt, sit up as much as possible, rather than lying down – this helps to lớn reduce swelling

Read more about treating burns & scalds.

When lớn get medical attention

Depending on how serious a burn is, it may be possible to treat it at home.

For minor burns, keep the burn clean & do not burst any blisters that form.

More serious burns require professional medical attention.

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You should go to lớn a hospital A&E department for:

all chemical và electrical burnslarge or deep burns – any burn bigger than the injured person"s handburns that cause white or charred skin – any sizeburns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals that cause blisters

If someone has breathed in smoke or fumes, they should also seek medical attention.

Some symptoms may be delayed và can include:

coughinga sore throatdifficulty breathingfacial burns

People at greater risk from the effects of burns, such as children under 5 years old & pregnant women, should also get medical attention after a burn or scald.

The form size and depth of the burn will be assessed & the affected area cleaned before a dressing is applied. In severe cases, skin graft surgery may be recommended.

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Types of burn

Burns are assessed by how seriously your skin is damaged and which layers of skin are affected.

Your skin has 3 layers:

the epidermis – the outer layer of skinthe dermis – the layer of tissue just beneath, which contains blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands và hair folliclesthe subcutaneous fat, or subcutis – the deeper layer of fat & tissue

There are 4 main types of burn, which tend lớn have a different appearance and different symptoms:

superficial epidermal burn – where the epidermis is damaged; your skin will be red, slightly swollen và painful, but not blisteredsuperficial dermal burn – where the epidermis và part of the dermis are damaged; your skin will be pale pink and painful, và there may be small blistersdeep dermal or partial thickness burn – where the epidermis và the dermis are damaged; this type of burn makes your skin turn red & blotchy; your skin may be dry or moist & become swollen and blistered, và it may be very painful or painlessfull thickness burn – where all 3 layers of skin (the epidermis, dermis & subcutis) are damaged; the skin is often burnt away & the tissue underneath may appear pale or blackened, while the remaining skin will be dry & white, brown or black with no blisters, và the texture of the skin may also be leathery or waxy

Preventing burns và scalds

Many severe burns and scalds affect babies and young children.

Examples of things you can vì to help reduce the likelihood of your child having a serious accident at home include:

keeping your child out of the kitchen whenever possibletesting the temperature of bath water using your elbow before you put your baby or toddler in the bathkeeping matches, lighters and lit candles out of young children"s sight và reachkeeping hot drinks well away from young children

Read more about preventing burns và scalds.

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