Burn Care

Your skin is a natural barrier to infection. It is the largest organ of your body. Burns damage this natural protection. To help prevent infection, it is very important to follow your caregiver's instructions in the care of your burn.

Burns are classified as:

  • First degree. There is only redness of the skin (erythema). No scarring is expected.

  • Second degree. There is blistering of the skin. Scarring may occur with deeper burns.

  • Third degree. All layers of the skin are injured, and scarring is expected.


  • Wash your hands well before changing your bandage.

  • Change your bandage as often as directed by your caregiver.

  • Remove the old bandage. If the bandage sticks, you may soak it off with cool, clean water.

  • Cleanse the burn thoroughly but gently with mild soap and water.

  • Pat the area dry with a clean, dry cloth.

  • Apply a thin layer of antibacterial cream to the burn.

  • Apply a clean bandage as instructed by your caregiver.

  • Keep the bandage as clean and dry as possible.

  • Elevate the affected area for the first 24 hours, then as instructed by your caregiver.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


  • You develop excessive pain.

  • You develop redness, tenderness, swelling, or red streaks near the burn.

  • The burned area develops yellowish-white fluid (pus) or a bad smell.

  • You have a fever.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.