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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Burns are frequent and are mostly caused by accidents in the kitchen or the use of open fire. Depending on severity, burns are divided into different degrees. The most important and crucial treatment is prolonged rinse with lukewarm water. All 2nd and 3rd degree burns should be evaluated by a doctor.

Burns are a frequent damage. Half of all burns are caused by scalding from boiling water, hot coffee or hot food, as well as cooking plates - i.e. in the kitchen. Another common cause of burns is the use of open fire.

The temperature of scalding is surprisingly low. Water that is 54 degrees warm gives deep burns in just 30 seconds. But also, water that is only 44 degrees hot can by prolonged exposure damage the skin.

Burns are divided into degrees depending on how deep the damage is:

1st degree burn
Stretches only in the upper part of the skin and appears by redness of the skin and pain. A typical example is sunburn. A 1st degree burn does not give long-lasting genes. In addition to the swine in the area for 1-2 days there are no genes.

2nd degree burn
Stretches throughout the entire skin. Appears by pain, redness, swelling of the skin and blistering. The bladders are fluid-filled cavities just beneath the skin - which bubbles on the skin. Typical example is scalding with hot coffee or tea. A 2nd degree burn heals in 2-3 weeks, depending on how large and deep the burn is.

3rd degree burn
Stretches under the skin - down in the fat and muscles. Appears by a crust that can be white or brown and that covers a deep wound. There is no redness or blistering. A 3rd degree burn does not hurt because the nerves are broken. Typical example is burns from open fire or boiling water. A 3rd degree burn can not heal - either skin is transplanted over the injury or the wound shrinks and leaves a scar.

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What can you do?

In any burn, rinse immediately with lukewarm (20oC) water for at least 1 hour. Often 1 hour is not enough. You must continue rinsing until the pain has disappeared. Most people say that there is no pain if the burn is under water, but again it hurts when there is no water on the area. You must keep rinsing until it does not hurt even when there is no lukewarm water on the burn.
In the case of burn on the hand or foot, you can put your foot or hand into a bowl of water. In other cases, you can rinse with a shower or cover with lukewarm water in the burned place. If the burn is so large or deep that you choose to drive to the accident and emergency department, it is also important to put water on the burn on the way into the accident and emergency department. Lukewarm water from the tap or sea water is suitable. When you have finished rinsing, cover the burn with a bandage. To relieve pain, you can take painkillers, such as a gram of paracetamol 3-4 times a day. 

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If there is still pain.

Contact the doctor immediately

At all 2nd and 3rd degree burns. If you choose to go to the doctor, it is important that you continue to rinse with water on the way to the doctor.