What is a minor burn and what are the symptoms?
A burn is damage to the skin or tissues caused by contact with an electrical current or a heat source. Minor burns are the least serious burns. With minor burns, only the outer or second layers of skin are burned, but not all the way through. The skin is usually red with swelling and pain present. Blisters may develop with more severe minor burns.
What is a sunburn and what are the symptoms?
Sunburn is also considered a minor burn and is caused by exposure to too much ultraviolet (UV) light. People with fair skin are more likely to burn than people with dark skin. Sunburn is classified by pink or red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch. Other more serious symptoms include swelling, small fluid-filled blisters, and headache, fever or fatigue. Sunburn typically appears within a few hours after sun exposure and may take several days to weeks to heal.
What is the treatment?
To determine the severity of your minor burn or sunburn, it is important to visit a healthcare professional. For minor burns, it is first important to cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 or 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. This will help to reduce swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. Never put ice on the burn. Next, wrap the burn loosely with a non-adherent gauze bandage. The bandage will help keep air off the burn, reduce pain and protect the skin. You may also take an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen to ease the pain. Minor burns typically heal without further treatment.
For minor sunburn, your body will heal itself by peeling the top layer of damaged skin. To help relieve the symptoms, you may also take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, apply a cool compress to the burned skin and apply aloe vera lotion to the affected area. It is important to seek treatment from a healthcare provider if your sunburn is blistering and covers a large portion of your body, is accompanied by a high fever, extreme pain, confusion, nausea or chills, or does not respond to at-home care within a few days. To prevent sunburn from happening, avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm, use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 frequently and liberally, and wear a hat and tightly woven clothing that cover your arms and legs if you will be exposed to the sun.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.