How to deal with a burned finger

A burned finger can cause intense pain due to the presence of several nerve endings in the fingertips.

Most cases of burns are brought about by:

  • Steam
  • Exposure to hot liquids
  • Building fires
  • Flammable gases or liquids

The treatment for a burned finger can be carried out at home. Nevertheless, a serious burn requires further assessment by a doctor.

What are the signs?

burned finger

A minor burn is smaller than 3 inches, causes pain and superficial redness, blister formation and there is no breakage in the skin.

In general, the indications of a burned finger are linked to its seriousness. The usual signs of a burned finger include:

  • Pain, but the seriousness of the burn should not be based only on the level of pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Blisters that are filled with fluid or leaking
  • Reddened, white or charred skin
  • Lastly, peeling skin

Management of a burned finger

The first aid care for a burned finger is based on the 4 main steps:

  • Stop the burning process
  • Cooling the burn
  • Provide relief to the pain
  • Cover the burn

If an individual ends up with a burn, the treatment is based on the cause, degree and if the burn covers one finger, several or the entire hand.

Major burn

Generally, the injury is a major burn if it is deep, larger than 3 inches or have white or black patches. This type of burn requires prompt medical care. While waiting for the emergency team to arrive on the scene, you should:

  • Get rid of any tight items such as watches, rings and bracelets
  • Elevate the hand above the level of the heart
  • Wrap the burn site using a cool, clean moist bandage

Minor burn

A minor burn is smaller than 3 inches, causes pain and superficial redness, blister formation and there is no breakage in the skin.

A minor case of a burned finger necessitates prompt action but does not require a trip to the emergency department. When caring for this type of burn, the following must be done:

  • Position the burn site under cool running water for 10-15 minutes
  • After flushing, wrap it with a dry, sterile bandage
  • Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken if needed
  • Once the burn site is cooled, dab on a thin coating of moisturizing lotion or gel.

A minor burn typically heals without further treatment, but if the degree of pain does not change after 48 hours or if reddened streaks spread away from the burn, a doctor must be consulted.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a burned finger is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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