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Treating minor burns

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.


Further information