Emergency advice

Burn or scald:

  1. Hold burn under cool running water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Remove clothing or jewellery.
  3. Cover lengthways with cling film.

What are burns and scalds?

A burn can be caused by dry heat such as contact with fire, or a hot iron, or exposure to the sun. A scald can be caused by contact with wet heat, like steam or a hot cup of tea. The longer the burning goes on the more severe the injury. Your priority is to cool the burn as quickly as possible.

Signs and symptoms

Look for:

  • red skin and swelling
  • pain in the area of the burn
  • blistering may start to appear.

What to do

  1. Adult minor burns and scalds - start cooling the burn or scald as quickly as possible

    Start cooling the burn or scald as quickly as possible. Hold it under cool running water for at least 10 minutes or until the pain feels better.

    • If there is no water available, you could use cold milk or canned drinks.
  2. Adult minor burns and scalds - remove jewellery or clothing

    Remove any jewellery or clothing, unless stuck to the burn, before the area begins to swell.

  3. Adult minor burns and scalds - cover area loosely with cling film

    When the burn has cooled, cover the area loosely with cling film, lengthways.

    • Do not wrap the cling film around the burn as the area needs space to swell.
    • If the burn is on a foot or hand you could use a clean plastic bag.
    • Do not use ice, creams or gels. They may cause damage and increase the risk of infection.
    • Do not break any blisters that may appear, as this may cause infection.
  4. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    Monitor the casualty. Seek medical advice.

Did you find this information helpful?

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