You are barbequing and you accidentally burn yourself, and the first thing you have the inclination of doing is by taking an ice cube from the cooler and putting it on your burn. You need that relief from the cold, but is it a good idea to do? You would also do the same thing if you accidentally burn yourself by touching your curling iron. You would run the water set to its coldest and then put your burned finger under the stream of running cold water. Again, is that a good idea to do? The answer is no, and there is an explanation for that.
If you apply ice or any freezing water on a burned area of your body, then you will end up causing more damaged tissue. The ice, therefore, can damage your burned tissue further which will cause blistering and scarring. Scarring is something you want to avoid, and the same goes with blistering because that is very painful. Your parents likely put an ice pack on you if you burned yourself as well when you were a child. If that is the case, you likely still have a burn mark on your skin where you burned yourself. Therefore, if ice is not recommended to use to heal burns no matter how minor they are, then what is the solution for relieving burns?
If Ice Does Not Work To Relieve Burns, Then How Do You Heal Them?
The good news is that there are other ways to heal burns that will not cause further tissue damage to the burned areas. You are right about applying cold water to burns after they happen. However, not super cold and not frigid. If you end up with a mild burn by accidentally touching the hot stove or curling iron for a few seconds, then you can cool it down by running it under cool (not cold) water for five minutes. You can also apply a wet cloth that has cool water.
You will want to remove any clothing that covers that area burned as well before applying it under cool water or before putting a damp cloth on it. After you cool it for five minutes, you will want to clean the area. Take a clean rag and put mild soap on it and clean it gently. Then you will want to put a topical cream so that you don’t end up getting an infection after the burn. If you have not had your tetanus shot booster within the past decade, then you will need to get it as well.
Your skin still may develop a blister and if it does, then you will want to ensure that you do not rupture the blister as it not only will cause a scar but increase the chances of developing an infection. What you want to do instead is to cover the blistered area with a non-stick sterile dressing such as gauze. If you are in a lot of pain, you will want to take Tylenol or Advil to help reduce the inflammation.
if you end up with a severe burn, then you will need to head to the ER right away as you will need special treatment for it. However, chances are if you burn yourself from a typical household item such as a stove burner or a curling iron, the treatment listed above will work. However if you burn yourself from a candle, a large part of your skin will be affected. That is the time to head to the ER. Whatever you do, be careful. Burns happen and ensure that you treat them properly.