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Natural First Aid For Burns: Home Remedies

    Get the 411 On Natural Home Remedies For Burns

    The largest organ of the body, the skin, serves multiple purposes, all of which are critical for our survival. The skin is our first line of defense against infection. It is also responsible for the thermal regulation of our bodies, for prevention of fluid loss through evaporation, and for the ability to provide us with information, via our sensory receptors, about our environment.

    The skin is made up of three layers: the outer-most layer (the epidermis), a middle layer (the dermis), and the lowest, deepest layer (the hypodermis or subcutaneous tissue layer). When we are burned, the skin and other soft tissues of our bodies are damaged, the amount of which depends on the extent and intensity of the burn.

    Types Of Burns

    The largest classification of burns includes thermal, chemical and radiation burns, with thermal burns being the most common of these. In a thermal burn, the skin begins to experience damage when exposed to temperatures above 115 degrees F. The degree of damage inflicted by a burn depends on the temperature of the offending surface and the length of contact time.

    Burn Categories

    Burns are broken down into three categories: first, second and third degree burns. When someone suffers a first degree burn, damage happens only to the outer layer of the skin. A sunburn, for example, is a type of first degree burn. The skin appears red, moist, swollen and painful to the touch. Second degree burns, also called partial thickness burns, affect not only the outer layer of the skin but the dermis as well. These kinds of burns cause pain, swelling and blistering. In severe cases it can lead to shock, infection (due to damage to the skin’s protective barrier), and even death.

    The final and most severe type of burn is a third degree burn. A third degree burn destroys the deepest levels of the skin and, depending on its severity, the tissues below as well. Third degree burns often do not cause any pain because the sensory receptors in the skin are often destroyed. The skin typically appears white or sometimes black in color.

    Treatment of burns depends on the depth, location and size of a burn. When more than 15% of the body is involved, hospitalization is often required.

    Ten Top Home Remedies For Burns

    • Hold the burned area under cold running water for five to ten minutes or until the pain diminishes. Cooling burned skin helps to reduce swelling. If the burned area is severe, doing so could cause shock.
    • Do not put butter or oil on burns. Any kind of greasy substance applied to the skin holds in the heat and can cause the burn to become worse.
    • Cover the burned area with a cool compress or a sterile gauze bandage.
    • Elevate the burned area (if possible) above the heart.
    • If the area has blistered, do not break the blisters. Broken blisters can lead to infection.
    • If clothing has stuck to the skin, do not remove it. Do make sure that any smoldering materials are fully extinguished.
    • A traditional remedy for burns is aloe vera. Apply aloe vera to burned areas three to four times daily or as needed to soothe irritated skin and promote healing.
    • Like aloe vera, a diluted mixture of tea tree oil can be applied externally to burns.
    • Grapefruit seed extract can be taken when needed for its antibacterial, antifungal or antiviral properties.
    • Omega 3 oil, flax seed oil, or evening primrose oil can be taken to help decrease inflammation and support healing.

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