There are several degrees of burns, ranging from the least severe first degree burn, to the major third degree burn. A first degree burn is minor and only affects the epidermis layer of the skin. It causes pain, redness and swelling. Second degree or partial thickness burns affect both the epidermis and dermis layers of skin. This causes the same symptoms of first degree burns plus blisters. A third degree burn is the worst, and is characterised as a full thickness burn, or a burn which extends into deeper tissues than the dermis. These burns cause white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb at first.
Any burn that exceeds the first degree must be treated professionally soon after the burn is received. Home remedies are only a suitable recourse for first degree burns, and should significantly minimise the symptomatic effects.
Home Remedies for Burns
The tannic acid found in black tea helps to draw heat from a burn. Place 2-3 tea bags under a spout of cool water and collect the tea in a small bowl. Dab the liquid gently onto the burn site. Alternatively, use 3-4 tea bags, 2 cups fresh mint leaves and 4 cups boiling water. Strain liquid into a jar and allow to cool. Dab mixture on burned skin with cotton or wash cloth.
This works as an astringent and antiseptic on minor burns and helps to prevent infection. Dilute vinegar with equal parts water and rinse the burn site with the solution.
Relieve mouth burns by rinsing with brine, every hour till better. Make brine with ½ teaspoon salt in 8 ounces water.
Honey will draw out fluids from the tissues, effectively cleaning a minor burn wound. The honey can be applied to a gauze bandage, which is less sticky than a direct application. Place a dollop of honey on a piece of sterilised gauze material and apply directly to the burn site. Change the dressing 3-4 times daily.
This is better for a burned tongue than cold water. Instead of drinking cool water when your tongue is burned, suck on an ice cube. Rinse the ice cube with water first so it doesn’t stick to lips or tongue.
Ice can restrict blood flow if applied directly to a burn site on the skin, and further damage delicate tissues. Gently run cool water or place a cool compress over the burn site for about 10 minutes. Do this within seconds of receiving the burn, it will soothe the area and prevent the burn from spreading.
Soak a minor burn site in milk for 15 minutes. Alternatively, use a cloth dampened with milk to cover the area. Repeat every few hours to relieve pain. Wash cloth properly after use, or it will become sour quickly.