Treating Scald Burns

There are 3 types of burns:

There are 3 types of burns:

  • 1st-degree burns: are limited to the upper skin layer. They produce redness, tenderness, pain, swelling and slight fever.
  • 2nd-degree burns : affect deeper skin layers. Symptoms are more severe and usually include blisters. 
  • 3rd-degree burns: involve all skin layers. Area is white and there may be no pain in the initial stages.
Scald burns are burns caused by hot liquids and steam.
What to do in the case of a scald burn:

What to do in the case of a scald burn:

  • Remove the diaper (if applicable) and clothing from around the burn area, as well as any  jewellery. These items will retain heat, which will increase damage to the skin. If the material is stuck to the skin, do not remove it. Cool the area with cool (not cold) water.
  • Run cool (not cold) water over the burn area for 10 to 20 minutes or until medical help has arrived if you have called 911 for a severe case. A cool wet towel can also be applied.
  • Never apply ice to the burn; this can make the burn worse.
  • Never apply creams, ointments, salves or butter.
  • Never break blisters.
  • Cover the area with a clean dry cloth once the skin has cooled.  
  • Make your way to the nearest Emergency Department.
  • Call 911 if the burn is severe.
The best way to treat a burn is prevention! To learn more about fire and burn safety, click here.
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Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: April 2020

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