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When Should You Seek Emergency Care for a Burn?

Summer is the time for fun in the sun! But with families enjoying more activities outdoors, such as days at the beach, barbeques, and camping adventures, the risk for burns increases.

Urgent care centers often see more patients with burns during the summer due to sun exposure, grilling, fireworks, and campfires. Often, burns are minor and do not require care from a health care provider, but when they do, urgent care doctors are prepared to give patients the necessary treatment.

This article will address how you can know if you should seek emergency care for treatment for a burn and how common burns are treated. 

What is Considered a Severe Burn?

First Degree Burns

Burns may be first, second, or third degree. The severity is dependent upon the damage the burn causes to the skin. 

First-degree burns are considered minor and involve the outer layer of the skin. They may be painful and cause redness and irritation to the skin. 

First-degree burns can treat these burns at home. Common first-degree burns include sunburns

You can find relief from first-degree burns by running the area underwater for 10-15 minutes or applying a cool cloth to the burn. If blisters form, never break them; wash and apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage.

Be sure to apply lotion, such as one that contains aloe vera, to help to relieve pain. Also, be sure to protect the skin from the sun so as not to make the burn worse. 

Second Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are more severe, causing red or white blotches or blisters on the skin. If the area of injury is smaller than three inches, it can be self-treated at home. 

Run the burn under cool water for 10-15 minutes. Apply aloe vera and antibiotic ointment and wrap with dry gauze. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be helpful for the pain. 

If the burn area is more extensive, you may seek treatment at an urgent care. The following are essential tips if you have a severe burn: 

  • Never remove clothing stuck to the skin, but you can remove jewelry or belts because the area may be prone to swelling.
  • Never immerse significant burns in cold water as it can result in hypothermia.
  • Elevate the burned area
  • Gently cover the burn with a cool, moist cloth.

Third Degree Burns

A third-degree burn involves all layers of the skin and the underlying fat and sometimes muscles and bone. The skin may appear dry, leathery, black, brown, white, or yellow. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. 

What are the Different Types of Burns?

The following are common burns seen at Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches:

  • Thermal Burns: Burns are caused by external sources such as a fire or a hot liquid. They can cause first, second, or third-degree burns. 
  • Radiation Burns: Burns are caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as sunburns. Though they usually result in first-degree burns over time, these burns increase the risk of skin cancer. You can prevent them by using appropriate sunscreen.
  • Chemical Burns: Burns are caused by exposure to harmful chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners. They may not only affect the skin but also the lungs, resulting in burning, pain, numbness, difficulty breathing, or vomiting.
  • Electrical Burns: Burns caused by lightning or an outlet. They can burn not only the skin but internal muscles and organs. 

How Do Urgent Care Doctors Treat Burns?

Many urgent care centers can treat burns, though they sometimes require emergency room care. More minor burns are treated with proper cleansing and decontamination. 

Patients may receive pain medication and antibiotics to protect against infection. If necessary, IV fluids are provided to help with stabilization. Chemical or electric burns may cause additional testing to determine the extent of the burns. 

Untitled-design-29 When Should You Seek Emergency Care for a Burn?

Do You Have a Burn That Requires Medical Attention? Our Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches is Here for You!

We have three convenient locations so you can get the treatment you need as soon as possible:

At Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches, we continue to offer COVID-19 testing and Rapid COVID testing

Moreover, we are currently offering free COVID-19 treatment in Florida - Oral COVID medication - Paxlovid & Lagevrio

Whatever your urgent care need, we are here for you seven days a week. Contact us if needed! We wish you a safe and healthy summer!

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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