Burns can be minor medical problems or life-threatening emergencies. Some of the most severe burns are caused by electricity or chemicals. Scalding liquids are the most common cause of burns in children.
Sunburns and small scalds can usually be treated at home, but deep or widespread burns need immediate medical attention. People with severe burns often require treatment at specialized burn units. Skin grafts may be necessary to cover large wounds.
For most burns, the very first thing to do is to flood the injury with cool tap water. Ice is not recommended because it can cause additional damage to the burned tissue.
Aug. 21, 2012
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Purdue GF, et al. Acute assessment and management of burn injuries. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2011;22:201.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Kowalske KJ. Burn wound care. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2011;22:213.
- Burns. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/burns/burns.html?qt=burns&alt=sh. Accessed June 6, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 7, 2012.
- Claypool DW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 27, 2012.
- Morgan ED, et al. Treatment of minor thermal burns. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Leon-Villapalos J, et al. Principles of burn reconstruction: Overview of surgical procedures. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- SOAR: Survivors offering assistance in recovery. Phoenix Society. http://www.phoenix-society.org/programs/soar. Accessed June 8, 2012.
- Peck MD. Prevention of fire and burn injuries. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 8, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.