Medical Q&As

Burns

I burned my arm and a blister formed. The blister burst in the shower and it is now very sore. Everyone is giving me different advice, cover the wound, donít cover it, put antiseptic cream on it, or leave it alone. What should I do?

The first thing to do if you burn your arm is to put it under the cold tap and allow the running water to cool the skin down. This will give some relief from the pain and more importantly will stop the hot outer layer of skin from burning the layers below. This simple first aid tactic may well have protected you from developing a blister. Since the blister has burst the exposed tissue is now at risk of becoming infected and the area should be covered with a sterile dressing. This provides a sterile physical barrier, which reduces the risk of infection and also provides a protective coating so that clothing and other items are not chafing against the damaged skin. Plain gauze dressings are probably best avoided because you may pull off the superficial cells growing over the burn when you go to change the dressing. There are dressings available that are specially coated so as not to stick to the healing tissue. Your local chemist should have some in stock.