Jan 14, 2023
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We all want to protect our children from burns. There are over 1 million burn injuries every year in the United States. Fortunately, most burns are minor and treated at home. Safeguarding our homes and understanding basic life support can be lifesaving.

Types of Burns

There are several types of burns. Superficial skin burns were previously called 1st-degree burns. These burns affect the top layer of the skin. They tend to cause redness of the skin and are painful. This type of burn typically heals within 3-6 days and does not leave a scar.

Superficial partial thickness burns were previously called 2nd-degree burns. They involve 2 layers of skin. They cause redness of the skin, are painful, and may leak fluid. These burns may or may not cause blisters. They typically heal in 7-21 days and may or may not leave a scar.


Deep partial-thickness burns were known as 3rd-degree burns. They affect 2 layers of skin, but this burn is deeper than the superficial thickness burns. They are painful and you will get blisters. The deep partial-thickness burn will take longer than 21 days to heal and will leave a scar.


The full-thickness burn was previously called a 4th-degree burn.  This burn affects all of the layers of skin and may affect the fat and muscle. These burns do not cause pain. The skin will appear white, gray, or black. Treatment may require hospitalization or surgery.


Treatment for Minor Burns

  • Remove any clothes that may be covering the affected area
  • Clean the burn with soap and cool water
  • Cool the burn using a cool wet compress or running water. Avoid ice.
  • Treat the pain with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Do not scratch the burn

Contact your doctor if:

  • You are < 5 years old or > 70 years old
  • You are not sure how bad your burn is
  • The burn involves the face, hands, feet, or genitals
  • Is on a joint
  • Goes all the way around a body part
  • Is large (>3 inches) or is deep
  • You develop a fever or any concerns that the burn may be infected
  • You have not had a tetanus shot in > 5 years