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A female asked:

How do i treat a partly healed second degree burn? my husband burned the back of his hands with a sedilien torch a couple weeks ago. we've been treating it with neosporin ointment. it still stings and itches him. what else can i do?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 22 years experience
Since : Since the burns involve his hands, you should probably have a doctor look at him. The itching can be part of normal healing, but the stinging is concerning. In the meantime, i've listed some basic burn information below. There are three burn classifications which will help you know what to do. 1) first degree burn: usually just redness swelling and pain. Unless it involves large areas of the hands, face, groin, feet, buttocks, or major joint, you can treat the area as a minor burn. If the burn does involve the areas listed, you should call your doctor or go to the emergency room. First degree burns may have discoloration of the skin for a few months, but do not usually lead to permanent scars. 2) second degree burn: pain, redness, swelling and blistering. As long as the burn is less than 3 inches wide and doesn't involve the body parts listed above, you can treat it as a minor burn. (it sounds as if your daughter has a small 2nd degree burn) you should call your doctor or go to the emergency room if the burn is larger than 3 inches or involves the body parts listed above. 3) third degree burn: is the most serious and the area may not hurt (from nerve damage) and can appear either black or white and dry. This needs emergent medical attention and you should call 911 or go to the emergency room. Treatment of minor burns: 1) cool the burn by running it under cold water for 10-15 minutes or applying cold compresses (do not use ice). 2) cover the burn loosely with a gauze 3) take an NSAID such as Ibuprofen for treatment of inflammation and pain relief. 4) do not apply butter or ointments. Do not pop any blisters. 5) keep area clean and dry. Watch for sign and symptoms of infection such as increased redness, swelling, drainage, pain or fever. 6) once the burn has healed completely, the best way to avoid scarring is to keep the area out of the sun for the next 6-12 months. Sun avoidance is the single most effective way to avoid scarring. Call your doctor with any questions.
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Dr. Annette Occhialini
Plastic Surgery 37 years experience
Depends: Second degree burns usually heal within about two weeks. If the burn is no longer wet looking and just has dry pink shiny skin then it is healed and no longer needs neosporin. It may continue to sting especially when exposed to heat and be very itchy so protect from sun and moisturize frequently. If it is still wet looking or has a persistent scab then you should have it checked by a doctor.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Sep 14, 2018


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