A first-degree burn is a mild, superficial burn that only affects the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. Although any type of burn can be a minor, first-degree burn, the most common causes of these burns are:

  • Flash burns (quick flashes of heat)
  • Hot water scalds
  • Sunburns

Flash Burns

Flash burns commonly refer to brief contact with hot objects, but any quick, sudden exposure to heat could constitute a flash burn. This includes electrical burns, chemical burns, etc.

These burns are common in the kitchen and bathroom:

  • Touching a hot stove.
  • Reaching into a hot oven.
  • Handling hot food or liquid.
  • Grabbing a hot hair dryer or straightener, curling iron, or another appliance.
  • Touching a hot appliance (e.g., hair dryer or straightener) to the scalp.

Some workers suffer flash burns when performing job duties:

  • Touching a car engine.
  • Exposure to fire or heat at work (e.g., welders).
  • Chefs and cooks exposed to cooking equipment.
  • Electricians exposed to electrical hazards.

Tips for preventing flash burns:

  • Wear protective gloves or equipment (e.g., oven mitts, welding gloves, etc.).
  • Refer to temperature indicators on stoves or ovens.
  • Use appliances like hair dryers a safe distance from your skin.
  • Allow adequate time to allow machines or appliances to cool before touching or moving them.

Hot Water Scalds

Hot water scalds also happen most often in the kitchen and the bathroom. Splashing water in a boiling pot, dropping a pot of hot water, or hot showers or baths are common sources of scald burns. Employees may also be at risk of scald burns, especially those who work in kitchens and plumbers who repair hot water tanks.

Tips for preventing hot water scalds:

  • Exercise caution when working around hot liquids in the kitchen.
  • Do not put your hands or face over a pot that contains hot food or liquid.
  • When removing a lid from a pot that contains hot food or liquid, lift it away from you at an angle to allow steam to escape.
  • Carefully test the temperature of water before plunging your hands into it to wash dishes or getting into the shower or bathtub.


Sunburns do not only happen during a day at the beach. They can happen when riding in a car, even with the windows up. And people might also suffer a sunburn on a cloudy day. Certain medications may also increase risk of sunburn. That is why many dermatologists recommend wearing sunblock every day when going outside.

Tips for preventing sunburn:

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • If you will be in the sun for more than a few minutes, apply sunscreen.
  • Consider wearing a hat and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt when you will be outdoors for a long time.
  • Check whether any medications you are taking may affect risk of sunburn.

Suffer a Serious Burn?

If you suffered a serious burn, or even a minor burn over a large portion of your body, you may have a legal claim if another party caused it. If you believe another party is at fault for your injuries, call 844-549-8774 to speak with a lawyer referral specialist who can help you find a lawyer.