A scald is a burn upon exposure of the skin to steam or hot liquids. Immediate treatment can help relieve the discomfort. When it comes to a first degree scald, the skin becomes red, swollen and sore. You can treat this type of scald at home. You can register for first aid training today to effectively manage scalded skin. On the other hand, it is best to seek immediate emergency care if the scald involves a large area on the feet, hands, face, groin, buttocks or an area over a major joint.
As for second degree scalds, it involves swelling, severe pain and blisters. When it comes to third degree scald in which the skin appears charred, creamy white or leathery in color, it needs immediate medical care.
Steps in managing a scald
- Initially, hold the scalded skin under cool running water for at least 15 minutes until the pain subsides. If this is not possible, you can also immerse the scalded skin under cool water or utilize a cold compress. Take note that this treatment can prevent further conduction of heat as well as helping relieve the pain. The initial move is to stop the burning process. Additionally, ice or ice cold water should not be used since it can cause damage on the skin.
- Cover the scalded skin using a sterile gauze bandage. Make sure that you will wrap the gauze in a loose manner in order to prevent pressure on the scalded skin and leave in place for 24 hours.
- Provide the individual with over-the-counter medications for pain if he/she does not have any conditions. It is best to provide ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or naproxen to the individual. Children and teenagers should not be given aspirin. In case there are any doubts on these medications, it is best to consult a doctor.
- Rinse or wash the scalded skin in a gentle manner using soap and water on a daily basis after the initial 24 hours have passed. Make sure that it is covered and dry between the washings.
- If available, you can use a leaf from an aloe vera plant 2-3 days after the scald was sustained. Make sure that you will wipe the gel gently over the injured area. You can also utilize a commercial aloe vera cream. Take not that aloe vera can moisturize the scalded skin and provide a soothing effect.
- Apply an over-the-counter antimicrobial cream that contains bacitracin in order to minimize the risk of infection and promote the healing process.
Considerations to bear in mind
If the individual experiences redness, fever, pain, swelling or oozing from the scalded skin, it is best to seek medical care.
As much as possible, do not utilize terry cloth, cotton or any other material as the bandage on the scalded skin since these might leave lint, thus causing further irritation. Any home remedy must not be used such as applying honey, butter, vinegar or grease on the scalded skin since these substances can increase the risk for infection.
It is best to utilize a sunscreen on the affected area when the individual goes outside for the first year in order to prevent both discoloration due to tanning or resulting to another injury. Take note that allowing the scalded skin to tan can cause changes on the pigmentation.