An external burn is damage to the skin's tissues. Burns can be very painful and can cause blisters and charred, black or red skin. A scald is a burn that is caused by hot liquid or steam. Scalds are managed in the same way as burns.
To treat a burn, follow the first aid advice below:
- Take immediate action to stop the burning process - for example, by getting the person away from the fire.
- Remove any clothing or jewellery that is near the burnt area of skin but do not remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin.
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes.
- Do not use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances, such as butter.
- Make sure that the person keeps warm - for example using a blanket, but take care to avoid rubbing it against the burnt area.
- Cover the burn by placing a layer of cling film over it.
- Use painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to treat the pain of a burn.