The Doctors demonstrate the right and wrong ways to treat a burn.
Read the full transcript »
How to Treat a Burn Properly Dr. Travis Stork: But let’s talk then about the mistakes people make because you’ve got to think quick on your feet after you sustain a burn. Dr. Drew Ordon: One of the biggest mistakes -- people immediately put it on ice and ice as caustic as heat. Cold can cause frostbite which is similar to a burn. So you do not want to put it on ice. What’s better is to put it in cool water gently -- gently treat it with a cool compress. It’s the best way to go on acute burn. Dr. Jim Sears: Another really common mistake is dressing it with the wrong materials. If you use cotton or just regular gauze, it’s going to stick to that wound. And you know, people used this regular gauze like this. When you go to peel it off, the next day, it’s going to stick. And it would be painful. What you want to use is a nonstick gauze that has that plastic finish to it. So a non-adhesive gauze pads. Dr. Lisa Masterson: And then the biggest one that I’ve heard people make all the time is that when you’re cooking and you burn yourself -- butter, do not apply butter because you can get an infection. You want to use aloe vera or a triple antibiotic type of ointment. Dr. Travis Stork: Aloe vera just for first degree. Dr. Lisa Masterson: Just for first degree. Dr. Travis Stork: Just for a very superficial. That’s why I use it for sunburns. Dr. Lisa Masterson: Or if it’s just a real superficial cooking burn, you would want to do the aloe vera or again the triple antibiotic cream, but not butter. Dr. Travis Stork: Anything deeper than first degree, you’re looking at something called Silvadene which is a prescription-strength antibacterial. You can also use the over the counter triple antibiotics as well. But if you have a big deep burn, you’re going to find this, and put on this real thick white cream, which is Silvadene which is a big time antibacterial. But the biggest issue, if you have a blister from a burn and its intact, don’t pop the blister. There’s a chance if you go and see the doctor, the doctor might do it under sterile conditions, but you’re begging for a bad infection if you pop those blisters -- just say no. And another thing, Ibuprofen is okay. If you’re okay with taking Ibuprofen in general, Ibuprofen can actually help decrease some of the pain and some of those inflammatory markers after a burn. These are all tips that really for the minor burns. First, small second degree burns, if you have a major second degree burn or a third degree burn, particularly involving your face or your hands, you need to seek medical attention because a third degree burn to the face or the hands -- lifelong consequences. Very quickly, you can get contractures in your hand, Drew, that will never be healed if you don’t get immediate medicine. Dr. Drew Ordon: You saw me treat those in Haiti. I have third degree burns of the hand that had a debris and immediately put him in splints and the right treatment would have been skin grafting, but I couldn’t do that at the time. Dr. Travis Stork: What’s the best treatment for a burn though -- to prevent it in that first place. Dr. Lisa Masterson: That’s true. Dr. Travis Stork: So think ahead.