A superficial burn usually heals by itself, but if you are severely burnt you will need hospital treatment. The severity of the injury depends on, among other things, how much of the skin has been damaged, how deep the burn is and where it is located.

When should you seek medical attention?

Contact a healthcare centre, emergency room or accident & emergency department immediately if one or more of the following applies:

  • The burn is in a sensitive area, such as the face, genitals, hands, feet or over major joints, i.e. shoulders, elbows, hips or knees.
  • The injury has been caused by chemicals or electricity.
  • A small child has suffered a burn.
  • You have inhaled smoke from a fire.
  • Blisters have formed and the burn is bigger than your own hand.
  • You have burnt your skin so deeply that the injury is white or brownish-black, and you have at the same time lost sensation in the area of skin.

First aid for burns

  • Prevent the injury from getting worse: extinguish the fire, if possible by starving it of oxygen.
  • Do not remove burnt-on clothing, as this may damage the skin.
  • Relieve pain by rinsing the damaged skin immediately in cool water or immersing the injured body part in water for a maximum of 15 minutes. Cool water can prevent the injury from penetrating deeper into the skin.
  • Cool for no longer than 15 minutes, as this increases the risk of hypothermia. Also, never cool a burn using ice or snow, as this can make the injury worse.