The next time you play with fire and get burned, don’t start screaming for a doctor immediately. Take a moment, clear your head and look around your house. Surprisingly, you will realise that you have all the ammunition needed to take on those ugly burn pains yourself.
However, not all burns should be taken lightly. Managing and treating them becomes important because they are very common, and very painful. If not properly treated, they can result in scarring, disfiguring, disabling, amputation of affected parts and even death in severe cases.
Simply put, burns are injuries caused due to overexposure to excessive heat, such as that from a fire, sun exposure, heated fluids like oil, or because of exposure to electricity or certain chemicals. Doctors have classified them into three types. According to them, first degree burns are the mildest, and more often than not, are the results of common misadventures in the kitchen. Since these are generally superficial lacerations of the outer most layer of the skin, at best, they can cause swelling, itching and redness.
Second degree burns are considered more serious, as they include damage to the tissue below the skin, and are visible in the form of blisters. And lastly, third degree burns are the most serious and require immediate medical assistance, as they damage nerve endings, inducing a state of shock, nausea and sweating. Both these type of injuries are generally caused by chemical burns or electrical burns. Some accompanying symptoms of these burns include fever, chills, vomiting, and oozing pus.
Irrespective of the type of burn you suffer, one must always immediately remove all burned clothing, unless it is stuck to the burn. Cover the area with a clean cotton sheet, or even a cling film will do. Do not rub the area or try to break any blisters that you see forming, as they imply our immunity kicking in.
Since first degree burns are the mildest, they can easily be treated at home. And believe it or not, common white vinegar is the best treatment for them, as it is a natural painkiller. Honey and whole milk also share the same properties, and can be similarly applied to the burned area as well. You could also try putting some leek juice on your injuries.
Everyday household oils can also do the trick. For example, lavender oil is a good first aid, as it is a proven antiseptic and prevents scaring. Olive oil, sunflower oil, pumpkin seed oil and wheatgerm oil, all are known for bringing relief to a painful burn, and improving its chances of healing without blister or scar.
You can also put a layer of the good old vaseline, which does three things. Firstly, it takes the sting out of the burns, secondly, it keeps the infection out, and lastly it reduces the risk of skin cracking. But, perhaps the best natural treatment of burns is to apply the sap of the Aloe vera plant directly on the burn. The plants astringent and tissue-healing properties are known to provide quick and lasting relief.
However, it’s important to remember that all burn injuries cannot be treated at home. Therefore, the above mentioned cures should be, at best, used as first aid. Under no circumstances should they be considered, or even used, as a substitute for medical attention.