What to do for Hand Burns
Most minor burns demand little to no medical intervention. When they affect the hands, however, things get a little more complicated. Typically, it’s best to seek medical treatment whenever you suffer a burn on key areas of the body, including the eyes, ears, buttocks, genitals, feet or hands. With that being said, you may not need medical attention for small burns on your hand if they aren’t covering a major joint.
To assess the severity of your burn, it helps to understand three burn classifications:
1st-degree burns:The least serious type of burn, these injuries only involve the outer layer of skin. Usually, they appear red and involve some amount of pain and swelling.
2nd-degree burns: This injury impacts the first and second layer of skin (dermis) and may result in blisters, severe pain and an intensely reddened, splotchy appearance.
3rd-degree burns: The most serious type of burn, these injuries involve all layers of the skin, resulting in permanent tissue damage. Muscle, fat and bone may be impacted and the wound may appear dry and white or charred and black.
What To Do For Hand Burns: Treating Your Injury
You can treat small 1st-degree burns on the hand yourself by holding the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. You should then cover the wound, using gauze and a loose bandage. Do not apply ice, butter, egg whites or ointments, since these can worsen the injury and promote infection. If you’re experiencing pain, consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Do not give aspirin to children under two or to teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms.
When to Seek Treatment
Because they expose the body to bacteria, burns can result in serious infections. Seek medical attention if you notice increasing redness, increasing pain, fever, swelling or oozing. You should also seek help if the burn exhibits any of the following characteristics:
- If the wound covers the majority of the hand
- If the burn covers the wrist
- If the burn looks dry, is painless or appears charred
- If the burn results in uncontrollable pain
When burns occur on the hand, it’s important to err on the side of caution, since delayed treatment can result in infection and impaired function. If you’re unsure whether your burn is serious enough for medical intervention, visit a physician for an evaluation.