Burns are a common injury that many will experience in their lifetimes. In fact, more than half a million people worldwide seek medical treatment for burns each year. Household burns account for about 70% of these.

A burn is defined as damage to your body’s tissues caused by direct or indirect contact with heat, electricity, chemicals or radiation. Burns can lead to anything from minor irritation to severe disability or even death.

Types of Burns

While many things can cause them, burns can be placed into one of three main categories:

  • First-Degree Burns, which only damage the outer layer of skin
  • Second-Degree Burns, which  damage  both the outer layer  of skin and the layer of skin underneath
  • Third-Degree Burns cause damage right into the deepest layer of skin and sometimes the tissues underneath the skin as well


  • Immediate blistering, swelling, reddening and  scarring of the skin
  • Shock
  • Extreme Pain
  • Painful inflammation throughout the body, as the  immune system reacts to the trauma
  • Organ failure
  • Disfiguration
  • Numerous Infections as the skin’s protective barrier is damaged
  • Death

Treatment of Milder Burns at home:

For first degree and second-degree burns, home –treatments can suffice.  The symptoms of a first-degree burn include reddening of the skin, mild pain, and mild swelling. There may also be some minor blistering.

With second-degree burns, you will find the skin is dark red and looks glossy, with more severe blistering.

Cold water /compress

For minor burns the most basic treatment is to run cool water over the burn for 15-20 minutes straight after the skin has been burned. Be sure not to use ice or iced water. Iced water may restrict blood capillaries bringing necessary blood to the skin. This can make things worse. Adding some compression to the area may help too.

Aloe-Vera or burn ointments

Natural Aloe Vera is a valuable household item as it has lads of benefits-one of which is treating mild burns due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties-aiding healing. It soothes the discomfort of a burn and can bring immediate relief and promotes blood circulation around the area which will quicken healing.

For third-degree burns, however, the skin will become severely dry and leathery and there will be while, black and brown patches, extreme pain and swelling. This is when you will definitely need medical treatment.

Luckily, Doctors-On-Call, your house call doctor, is equipped to treat first and second-degree burns at the home/workplace and can arrange for hospitalization when they feel that it is needed.

Professional medical treatment:

The type of medical treatments required will vary according to the cause, type and severity of the burns.  Healing from certain fire or chemical burns can sometimes take months and even years, and may include an extensive series of treatments and care. Some of these treatments may include:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Transfusions of other necessary fluids to maintain blood pressure
  • Reconstructive Surgery
  • Skin grafting

Prevention of Burns:

Burns are usually the result of a freak accident and basic negligence when dealing with potential burn hazards. It is important to be extremely attentive when dealing with fire-hazards, such as stoves/gas stoves, heaters.

To prevent chemical burns, always check the labels and instructions of any harsh chemicals and be sure to wear protective gear where necessary.

When buying new heating devices, such as hair irons, irons, heaters etc., opt for those with an automatic self-shut off feature when left unattended after a while. This simple feature can save you.

If you or any member of your family should, unfortunately, become a burn victim, Doctors-on-Call, your house call doctor,  provides regular assistance to the needs of all those recovering from burns and all associated conditions.