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Is it an emergency? Burns

Some burns can be treated at home. Others should send you to the doctor immediately.

Get immediate attention for:

  • Burns to the eyes, mouth, hands, groin, or any large area of skin.
  • Burns that cause significant blistering or charring.
  • Burns that cause pus-like or foul-smelling drainage.
  • Burns that cause excessive swelling or redness of the skin.
  • Burns that cause a fever.
  • Burns that do not heal in 10 to 14 days.

Minor burns may be treated with cool (not cold or ice) compresses, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

After cleansing, apply a mild antibiotic ointment and cover the burn with a bandage.

You may need a tetanus shot, even if you have had one within the past 10 years.

Reviewed 8/7/2022

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