They can be red, swollen, and painful bumps on your skin. Burn blisters can happen quickly and very easily.
Of the three types of burns, first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree, the severity depends on the layer of skin damaged.
With all of the old wives’ tales of using ice, butter, tobacco, and egg whites, how do you know what burn blister treatment to use?
We will learn how to treat a burn blister for pain relief and to prevent scarring.
A burn blister is a bump filled with lymph, or fluid, that results from certain types of burns such as hot liquid burns, chemical or electrical burns, sun exposure burns, and fire burns.
They form once the second layer of the skin, the dermis, is damaged. To resist infection and protect the tissue, the skin forms a bubble, or blister, over the affected area. The important thing to remember is not to “pop” a blister as it is your body’s own natural bandage.
How to Treat a Burn Blister
You can treat any minor burn at home with a few simple steps. Any burn on your face, hands, genitals or buttocks, or a burn or more than three inches in size, requires immediate medical attention. Once you experience a burn, treatment depends on whether your blister has opened or not.
- Immediately apply an antibiotic ointment or an aloe-based gel to affected area to prevent infection.
- Apply a sterile gauze for at least 24 hours to speed up the healing process.
- To change the bandage, allow it to soak in warm water before removing to prevent the open blister from sticking to the gauze.
- Once removed, check for signs of infection such as red streaking of skin; yellow- or green-colored discharge; or the edges of the area are red, warm, and swollen. Seek medical attention if any of these signs are present.
- Apply ointment and a new bandage. Repeat until new tissue forms.
- Put the burn under cold running water for three to four minutes. Prevent further damage by maintaining a gentle water flow.
- Wash the blister very carefully, avoiding bursting the blister. Use an antibacterial soap and water. Avoid rubbing the area so as not to break the blister open.
- Use a sterile gauze to pat dry or allow it to air-dry.
- Apply a large amount of topical antibiotic to the blister to promote healing.
- Cover blister with an absorbent bandage or gauze.
- Change the dressing every 24 hours or once it is wet or dirty, applying new ointment each time.
- After a few days, if the pain is still extreme, drain the burn blister fluid. Wash the affected area well and pretreat with a cloth soaked in alcohol. Use an alcohol-sterilized needle to puncture the edge of the blister. Once the fluid is out, apply ointment and a new bandage.
- It is recommended to cut away any dead skin after three to four days. Be sure to use scissors sterilized in alcohol.
- Once the skin turns pink, you can keep the area unwrapped as this signals new tissue has formed.
How to Treat Second-Degree Burn
A second-degree burn affects the epidermis and dermis layers of skin, otherwise known as the first and second layers. This moderate type of burn appears moist and can have excruciating pain associated with it.
As bad as they may look, second-degree burns can be treated at home to prevent infection and promote healing with little to no scarring. Learn how to treat an unfortunate second-degree burn with the following steps.
Place the affected burned area in cool water, or use a cool compress if burn is on face or body until the pain stops, approximately 15 to 30 minutes. DO NOT USE ICE. The cool water lowers the skin temperature at a steady rate to prevent further damage. You may want to remove any clothing or jewelry that may become restrictive with swelling.
Wash your hands well and gently clean the burn with water. Pat dry with sterile gauze or clean cloth. Try not to break open any blisters. Apply a topical antibiotic. DO NOT USE BUTTER OR SPRAYS as these will trap heat inside the wound area.
Apply a sterile bandage loosely if the burned area is broken open. Avoid applying pressure as you cover wound, and do not tape bandage as this can cause swelling of limb.
Change dressing after 24 hours by soaking in water before removing bandage. Reapply ointment and a clean bandage. If there are no open areas on the wound, do not cover.
If a second-degree burn is on your arm or leg, it is recommended to keep it elevated as much as possible for 24 to 48 hours to avoid swelling. It is wise to move the limb normally during the healing process as the burn can tighten, limiting future movement of area.
Accidents are bound to happen, and while a burn blister from a second-degree burn can be serious, it is vital we tend to the condition as soon as possible. If you suffer from a burn on your face or other sensitive areas of your body, it is important you seek immediate medical assistance.
Other body burns can be treated at home as long as you follow the steps to prevent infection and further tissue damage. If you have concerns over the healing process of your burn or any odd changes to it, be sure to visit your doctor.
“How to Treat a Burn Blister,” Med Health web site; http://www.med-health.net/How-To-Treat-A-Burn-Blister.html, last accessed January 30, 2017.
“Home Treatment for Second-degree Burns-Topic Overview,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/home-treatment-for-second-degree-burns-topic-overview, last accessed January 30, 2017.
“Symptoms of an Infection after a Skin Injury,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/symptoms-of-infection-after-a-skin-injury, last accessed January 30, 2017.