Burns are nasty, but can happen easily while cooking, having a barbecue or when working with fire. Find out all you need to know about burns and how you can treat them effectively.

Burns from 1 to 3: Know the different degrees of burns

First degree (superficial) burns: these are the lightest degree of burns you can suffer from, and they affect only the epidermis. The burned area is red, slightly swollen, painful, dry, and without blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage from these burns is rare.

Second degree burns: these involve the epidermis and part of the underlying dermis layer of the skin. Often scald injuries or flames cause them. The burn appears red, blistered, swollen and painful.

Third degree burns: third degree burns destroy the epidermis and the dermis and may also even damage the underlying subcutaneous tissue, bones, muscles and tendons. The burn site appears white or charred. There is no sensation in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed.

Cross section of healthy skin; © Elastoplast
Cross section of burned skin (first to third degree) © Elastoplast
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You can easily get burned, and chances are that whether it is from fire or a domestic heat source, it will happen as fast as lightening and take you by surprise. Following these five steps will help you treat burns effectively. In the case of a third degree burn, seek medical attention immediately. Never attempt to self-treat a third degree burn.

Five steps when treating burns and scalds

Move away from the source and secure the danger area first: Switch off electrical appliances, fight flames or remove hot water or source of heat or flames before treating the casualty.
Cool the burnt or scalded area under cold running water for at least ten minutes or until pain subsides. Do not apply ice. Cooling the burn with water is known to relieve pain and to reduce swelling of the skin as well as blister formation.
In the case of a first or second-degree burn, cleanse the wound with the Elastoplast Wound Spray to prevent infections.
Gently dry the affected area.
Help the burn wound to heal by applying a thin film of the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment once or twice per day. Cover with a loose gauze such as the Elastoplast Non-Stick Dressing to protect the affected areas.

Never put fat or butter onto burns or remove anything that is stuck to the skin, such as clothing. When in doubt, ask for medical advice.

When to seek medical advice:

Even for first and second degree burns you should seek medical advice if the burned area is large or if after initial pain relief the burned area again shows signs of infection such as redness, heat, swelling, pain, itching or burning.

Further, medical attention is necessary if a child is burned, if the burn is on sensitive parts of the body e.g. on the face, or if you have any questions or concerns.

For third-degree burns you should always seek medical attention immediately.

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Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.

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How to prevent burns – some safety tips

Fortunately, many burns can be prevented. Most of them happen in the heart of the home - the kitchen. Here are a few tips to help you make your kitchen a safer place.

  • Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. Don’t get distracted by phone calls, someone calling from another room etc.
  • Wear protective oven gloves when taking something out of a hot oven.
  • Turn pot and pan handles toward the back or center of the stove so that they won’t turn over.
  • Keep items such as dish towels, plastic bags, and long sleeves away from the heating surface.
  • Never cook while holding a child or pet.
  • Keep small children and pets away from the front of the oven or stove.

Preventing Scalding Burns

Of the many types of burns that can happen in your home, scalds may be the most unexpected. Children who have thinner skin than adults are more likely to receive severe burns from hot liquid. Simple precautions can protect you and your family.
  1. Never warm baby bottles in the microwave; they may heat unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.
  2. Be careful when handling kettles, pots and lids of pots with boiling liquid. Steam can easily scald your wrist and hands.
  3. It‘s a good idea to turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove so children cannot tip pots over.
  4. Keep hot liquids like soup, coffee, or tea away from the edge of counters and tables.
If a burn should occur, follow the steps under the treatment section and keep your wound covered so that it will have ideal moist wound healing conditions to heal properly. Also, if a blister should appear, leave it alone and do not open its protective roof.
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Always see your doctor if the wound is deep, bleeding or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth. 
Also make sure to seek medical help if you are not able to clean the wound properly.
In case you have diabetes a proper wound care is of special importance. Always discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor and/or podiatrist, even for the care of minor wounds and skin cracks – especially on your feet.
Please note that none of the above given tips or recommendations substitute medical advice. Carefully read the instructions for use given in our products‘ packages. Important: consult a health professional in case of any uncertainity of treating your wound properly.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care or advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website.
For further information regarding Elastoplast products, please contact us via email on Australia.ConsumerServices@Beiersdorf.com. Carefully read the instructions for use given in our products‘ packages.

Although compiled with great care, please note that the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website. Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products. For further information about our products, please contact us here.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.