Q: What do I do if I burn myself while making our turkey dinner?
Turkeys are heavy, hot, and awkward. Pie crusts can turn from golden to singed in minutes. When you’re rushing around trying to manage multiple dishes and get dinner on the table, it’s easy to make a mistake and get burned.
Accidentally touching the oven or a hot dish, sticking your arm through some steam, or spilling a boiling liquid can all result in an injury. So what’s the best way to treat a minor burn?
- Cool the burn and relieve the pain by soaking the skin in cool water for about 15 minutes. You may also use a cool compress. Avoid using ice or ice water, which can cause further damage to the area. Washing the burn with cool soapy water will help decrease the chance of infection.
- Next, cover the burn with a sterile bandage. Using a non-stick dressing and keeping the area clean and wrapped will also decrease the chance of infection. Butter and ointments can keep the heat in and prolong the pain, so stick with a plain bandage. Should the skin blister, avoid popping it. Blisters are the skin’s defense against bacteria.
- Take some ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain, if you need it.
- Get medical help if your pain increases, if the site starts oozing or swelling, or if you develop a fever. These could be signs of an infection.
Of course, if the burn is more serious, then you should get medical help immediately. Children, infants, and elderly individuals who have been burned should always be evaluated by a provider.
—Jill Bradley, FNP
Jill Bradley is family nurse practitioner in Vancouver Clinic’s Urgent Care Department. She enjoys providing high-quality care and peace of mind to patients, and believes good communication is key to recovery.