Second-degree burns affect both the outer and the underlying layer of skin. This article equips you with appropriate and immediate treatment measures.

Second Degree Burn Treatment

“Ouch”, gasps Juanita as the fearsome unexpected flames burn her. Exposure to scorching heat can cause major damage to the tissues of the body. Depending on the degree of heat exposure, skin burns are typically classified into first degree, second degree and third degree burns. One worse than the other, but each can be salvaged if immediate treatment is provided. Before resorting to treatment, it is important to verify the type of skin burn. Second degree skin burns arise from exposure to high flames, hazardous chemicals, severe sunburns and boiling hot liquids. Not usually larger than 3 inches, some heal without leaving scars after days of excruciating pain. One may go into a shock due to the loss of excess body fluids which simultaneously leads to a drastic plunge in blood pressure! Fainting, increase in pulse rate and feeling of weakness is some of the side effects. It is imperative to seek treatment to eliminate all chances of infection and to lower pain. Whether smokers who fall asleep while smoking, arson victims, fire fighters, miners or laboratory workers; second degree burns aren’t uncommon. Here are the reliable methods of second degree burn treatment.

How To Treat Second Degree Burns

What To Do
  • Gently remove the piece of cloth that might be covering the burnt area.
  • Apply a cold water compress to alleviate the pain. Wash smaller burns with antiseptic cleansers.
  • Wrap the burn around a dry and non-stick dressing like gauze. Leave the bandage on for 24 hours. Daily dressings are essential and help the wound stay away from infection signs like swelling, pus or redness.
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin are great pain relief medicines.
  • If the root cause of the second burn is exposure to chemical, firstly remove any cloth around the affected area and then wash the burnt area for around 20 to 30 minutes. However, if you have no access to water, dust any remaining trace of the chemicals with a clean dry cloth.
  • If the patient's vaccine is not up-to-date, a tetanus shot might be necessary. 
  • Since burn victims are prone to breathing and coughing problems, always ensure that airway passages aren’t obstructed to allow the patient to breathe.
  • Remove shoes if the feet have been burned and remove whatever jewellery that might still be on a burned body part.
  • When the patient manifests signs like sudden confusion, increasing body temperature, severe pain and loss of consciousness, it is best that you dial 911!
  • Severe burns mandate admission to hospital emergency rooms or trauma centers for further evaluation of the patient's vital signs and assessment of damage to internal organs and the skin.
What Not To Do
  • Never ever apply ice or ice water over the burnt area! This may only aggravate the damage.
  • Resist the urge to burst blisters as this may increase chances of acquiring infections. Let them break on their own. Do not pop or puncture them.
  • Spare your burn scars from any ointments, oil, butter, grease or petroleum jelly. These substances trap the heat in and in turn, harm the tissues lying deeper.
  • When the person suffers from a state of shock triggered by second degree burns, avoid giving water. Although, small amounts of water or juice can be given to compensate for the loss of fluids from the body.
  • Under no circumstances shall you attempt to remove clothes burned into the skin. This needs immediate professional and medical attention.
  • Steer clear of creams, butter, toothpaste, or any household remedies until you seek approval from the physician.
  • Do not give CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation), instead, wait for trained professionals to arrive.

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