How to treat a first degree (minor) burn

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First-degree burns are very common.

Unlike second- or third-degree burns, first-degree burns only involve the top layer of the skin.

People often get these burns after accidentally touching a hot curling iron, hair straightener, or stove.

Sunburn can also be a first-degree burn.

If you have a first-degree burn, your skin may be red, painful and have mild swelling.

Only minor burns should be treated at home.

If you experience more severe symptoms or have a burn that is very large and painful,

call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.

To treat a first-degree, minor burn, follow these tips from dermatologists:

Immerse the burn in cool tap water or apply cool, wet compresses.

Do this for about 10 minutes or until the pain subsides.

Cover the burn with a non-stick, sterile bandage.

Do not apply ointments, toothpaste or butter to the burn, as these may cause an infection.

If blisters form, let them heal on their own while keeping the area covered.

Do not pop the blisters.

Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation.

First-degree burns usually heal on their own without treatment from a doctor.

However, if your first-degree burn is very large, if the victim is an infant or an elderly

person, or if you think your burn is more severe, seek immediate medical care.

To learn more about wound care or find a dermatologist in your area, visit