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Burns and Scalds

Many second-degree burns and ALL third degree burns require immediate medical attention.


DO NOT clean burns or break blisters. DO NOT remove any clothing that sticks to burn. DO NOT apply grease, ointment, or medication to a severe burn. DO NOT use cotton or material with loose fibers to cover burns.


First-degree burns—redness or discoloration of skin surface; mild swelling and pain.

Second-degree burns—deep burn with red or mottled appearance; blisters, considerable pain and swelling, skin surface appears wet.

Third-degree burns—deep tissue destruction with a white or charred appearance; no pain.


First Degree Burn Treatment:

  1. Apply ice packs wrapped in clean cloth for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off per hour. DO NOT use ice directly against the skin.
  2. Blot gently; apply a dry, sterile pad if necessary.
  3. Usually medical treatment is not necessary; however if severe symptoms exist, call 911 or your local emergency services. Be alert for signs of shock.

Second Degree Burn Treatment:

  • See treatment for first-degree burns. If arms and legs are affected, elevate above heart level.
  • Burns may be deep and potentially serious, requiring medical treatment depending on extent and location. Be alert for signs of shock and infection.

Third Degree Burn Treatment:

  • Call 911 or your local EMS immediately. Be alert for signs of shock. See treatment for first-degree burns.

Chemical Burns

Blistered or dark/black skin, redness or burning at site of burn, Pain or numbness on the area.


  1. Remove contaminated clothing.
  2. Flush burned area with cool water for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Treat as you would any major or minor burn.
  4. If eye has been burned: Immediately flood face, inside of eyelid, and eye with cool running water for at least 15 minutes. Turn head so water does not drain into uninjured eye. Lift eyelid away from eye so the inside of lid can also be washed.
  5. Call 911 or your local EMS.