In most cases, minor burns will go away on their own. A home treatment might be needed to soothe the burn and help the skin heal faster. However, first aid measures might be needed for more severe burns, or you may need to see a doctor right away.
Your first priority should always be to remove the cause of the burning.
For heat burns over any open flames with a blanket or throw water on them. If your clothes catch fire, the best thing to do is to stop, drop and roll to put the fire out. A lot of people have the reflex of running but this will not stop the flames.
Cold Temperature Burns
For cold temperature burns, use first aid measures to warm up the affected area. You can blow warm air on small areas that have been frozen, such as your ears, fingertips, toes, nose or face. You can also use warm clothing or warm water to protect the affected areas from cold temperatures.
Liquid Scald Burns
For liquid scald burns, your first reflex might be to apply ice on the burn. It is best to run some cool tap water over the affected area for ten or twenty minutes.
For electrical burns, you should separate the person from the electrical source. Make sure they are breathing properly and check their heartbeat. Call 911 if the person is not breathing or if you cannot find a heartbeat.
Chemical burns can occur when your skin comes in contact with irritating substances. If you experience a burning sensation, determine what caused it and call your local Poison Control Center to get more information on how to treat your burn.
Hot Plastic & Tar Burns
For hot plastic or tar burns you should run some cold water over the hot plastic or tar to cool it off and stop the burning. Your next action should be to look for any other injuries. If an accident occurred, there might be other injuries besides the burn. You should remove clothing and jewelry from the burnt area. However, it is best not to touch clothing if it is stuck to the burnt skin. You can cut around the area that is stuck to get rid of most of the clothing. Remove jewelry in case swelling occurs, which would make removing jewelry difficult and could interfere with circulation.
How to Prepare for Treatment by a Doctor
You can cover the affected area with a clean and dry cloth so the burn does not become infected. Do not apply any treatments or salve to the area so the doctor can easily see what the burn looks like. Applying butter or ice to cool off the area will not help and can actually damage the tissues around the burn.