The difference between first, second & third degree burns
Here’s a brief overview of the differences between first, second and third degree burns, including the various symptoms that may be experienced, and typical treatments.
First-degree burns involve the top layer of skin. Sunburn is one example of a first-degree burn.
Signs of a first-degree burn:
Painful to touch
Skin will show mild swelling
Treatment for first-degree burns:
Apply cool, wet compresses, or immerse in cool, fresh water. Continue until pain subsides.
Cover the burn with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth.
Do not apply ointments or butter to burn; these may cause infection.
Over-the-counter pain medications may be used to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
First degree burns usually heal without further treatment. However, if a first-degree burn covers a large area of the body, or the victim is an infant or elderly, seek emergency medical attention.
Second-degree burns involve the first two layers of skin.
Signs of a second-degree burn:
Deep reddening of the skin
Glossy appearance from leaking fluid
Possible loss of some skin
Treatment for second-degree burns:
Immerse in fresh, cool water, or apply cool compresses. Continue for 10 to 15 minutes.
Dry with clean cloth and cover with sterile gauze.
Do not break blisters.
Do not apply ointments or butter to burns; these may cause infection
Elevate burned arms or legs
Take steps to prevent shock: lay the victim flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches, and cover the victim with a coat or blanket. Do not place the victim in the shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected, or if it makes the victim uncomfortable.
Further medical treatment is required. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.