Burns are problem among South African children under the age of five. Burns commonly result from the sun, scalding by hot liquids, fire, electricity or chemicals. Very young children have especially sensitive skin and even a burn from a cup of coffee can prove fatal. Here are important home remedies for burns

home remedies for burns


If you know what to do if someone is burnt, you may be able to limit injuries. Better still, learn home remedies for burns, how to prevent from happening in the first place.


Signs and home remedies for burns

Pain is not an indicator of the severity of a burn. Burns are classified into first, second and third degree according to the depth and size of the burn.


First-degree burns only involve the outer layer of the skin. Sunburn is an example of a first degree burn. There is mild swelling, redness and pain, but no blisters. The pain gets better in 48 to 72 hours and there is usually no scarring.


Second-degree burns involve injury to both layers of the skin, the epidermis and dermis. These burns are often caused by hot liquids. They are very painful because they affect a large number of nerve endings. The burnt area is tender, blotchy and swollen. Blisters generally form which may weep fluid. If this type of burn is not infected, it will heal in seven to 21 days, unfortunately with some scarring.


Third-degree burns or full-thickness burns involve destruction of all layers of skin and may damage muscles, fat cells and bones. These burns appear white or charred black, and are bloodless. They are not painful because the nerves have been destroyed. The area of the burn also feels dry, leathery and hard. This type of burn can only heal with skin grafting to cover the damaged area. It leaves deep scars. There may also be painful second-degree burns on the edges of the burn.

The size of the burnt area is also important in assessing how serious the burn is. As a rule of thumb: the open hand of the burnt person represents 1% of the body surface area.

First, it’s helpful to have an awareness of the degree of injury and know whether it’s a minor burn (one that can be treated at home) or a major burn (one that needs medical attention). Once you’ve nailed that, treatment is pretty straightforward.


5 Things Should Never Do to a Major Burn


# Don’t use ice, ice water or even very cold water. Severe burns shouldn’t be treated with ice or ice water because this can further damage the tissue. The best thing to do is cover the burn with a clean towel or sheet and head to the emergency room as quickly as possible for medical evaluation.

# Don’t treat an open burn with water. Unless someone’s on fire and your only option is to drench them to put out the flames, exposing an open burn wound to water can introduce bacteria.

# Don’t apply butter, ointments or sprays. Butter and other greasy substances may cause infections.

# Don’t remove clothing that is stuck to the skin or try to peel away dead or blistered skin. This can cause further damage and create open wounds that are susceptible to infection.

# Don’t give a severely burned person anything by mouth or place a pillow under someone’s head if there is an airway burn. This can cause an airway obstruction.


Home Remedies for Burns


Mint toothpaste

For when you accidentally touch something hot without a potholder, or get splattered by something that’s boiling, keep a tube of white, minty toothpaste in the kitchen as a home remedy to relieve a minor burn. First, run the scalded area under water, then gently pat it dry with a paper towel and cover with a layer of the toothpaste.



Honey is a natural antibiotic, which helps to prevent your burn from becoming infected. It has a natural pH balance that is inhospitable to bacteria, so once applied topically, it can also kill any existing bacteria or infection lingering on the skin. Honey will also cool the burn, relieve pain, and help the skin to heal.


Coconut oil

Coconut oil is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin E and it also contains fatty acids that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, which help keep your burn from becoming infected. If a scald has left a nasty mark on your skin, one home remedy suggests adding lemon juice to the coconut oil before massaging it into the mark. The acidic properties of lemon juice will help lighten the scar while the coconut oil helps it heal.home remedies for burns


Preventing all degree of burns

The obvious best way to fight burns is to prevent them from happening. Certain jobs put you at a greater risk for burns, but the fact is that most burns happen at home. Infants and young children are the most vulnerable to burns. Preventive measures you can take at home include:


  • Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
  • Test smoke detectors once a month.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Keep water heater temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Measure bath water temperature before use.
  • Lock up matches and lighters.
  • Check and discard electrical cords with exposed wires.
  • Keep chemicals out of reach, and wear gloves during chemical use.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, and avoid peak sunlight.

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