Third-degree and large second-degree burns require wound care in a clinical setting.

Burns can occur anywhere at any unexpected time and are often quite painful. Wound healing can be a lengthy process for this type of injury, but there are actions one must take immediately if they experience a burn. Consider these first-aid steps:

Assess the burn

Determine the severity of the injury. As the National Institutes of Health explains, both first- and second-degree burns typically appear red and swollen; however, the more severe second-degree burn will also form blisters. In the case of a major, third-degree burn, all layers of the skin as well as the underlying fat are affected. You may see white or black char, have difficulty breathing or experience other symptoms related to fire exposure.

If the burn is major

A second-degree burn can be considered major if it is larger than 3 inches in diameter, according to the Mayo Clinic. In this case, as well as with third-degree burns, you should seek immediate medical attention for proper wound care. Additionally, any burns to the face, hands, feet, wrist, buttocks, hip, groin, shoulder or elbow should be treated in a clinical setting, as should injuries caused by chemicals or electrical sources.

If the burn is minor

Run the affected area under cool (not freezing) water. The NIH recommends holding under the tap for 10 to 15 minutes. After it is cooled, clean gently with soap and water, making sure not to irritate any blisters. You may want to apply antibiotic ointment underneath wound dressings to protect against infection. Dressings should be changed daily, and avoid scratching or rubbing the wound during the healing process, which can take about three weeks for minor wounds.

Advanced Tissue is able to supply wound dressings for first- and second-degree burns and clinicians typically order hydrogel products for these types of wounds.