We have all suffered burns on our fingers. You hit the side of the iron or you touch a hot pan. In many cases, you can treat these burns with different home remedies. However, regardless of what type of home remedy you decide to use, we recommend asking a doctor’s advice first, as some home remedies can actually worsen a burn or cause a complication, especially if you do not know the severity of your burn.

What should I do if I burn my finger?

The only tried-and-true home remedy, and the first thing you should do after a burn on your finger, is to hold your hand under cool (not cold) water for 15 to 20 minutes. Once you have done so, evaluate your burn. If it is a second-, third-, or fourth-degree burn, get medical attention. Third- and fourth- degree burns always require emergency treatment, while second-degree burns may require a trip to urgent care or your regular doctor.

Once you receive proper medical attention, you might consider a few home remedies.

What should I not do if I burn my finger?

Before we discuss what you should do for your burn, we need to discuss what you should not do.

Never use butter, oil, or vinegar on a burn. These are home remedies that can be harmful to the burn. Butter and household oils are not sterile as they can contain contaminants. They can hold in the heat, lead to infection, or make the burn more painful.

If you choose to apply a cream or ointment to your burn, make sure you wait until your burn has cooled entirely and always ask your doctor first, especially if your burn is worse than a first-degree burn. If there is still heat in the burn when you put something on top of it, it can hold the heat in, prolonging the pain and even worsening the burn.

What can I put on my finger burn?

You can put certain ointments like Aloe vera gel on a burn after the burn has cooled and you have completed first aid of the wound. There are many over-the-counter burn ointments available in the drugstore. These are designed to perform one or more of the following:

  • Relieve surface pain
  • Reduce itching as the burn heals
  • Keep the wound hydrated
  • Prevent infection
  • Reduce or prevent scars

Before you use any, ask your doctor about the pros and cons. Never mix ointments.

Should I put a dressing on my finger burn?

There are specially-shaped sterile bandages designed for use on the fingers available at drug stores. Other options include sterile plain gauze, nonstick pads, or nonstick bandages. Be sure to use gauze that will not fray and apply petroleum jelly before wrapping the gauze. If not, the gauze could stick to your burn.

Never use a non-sterile dressing on your burn, and never use household items such as paper towels, facial tissue, napkins, or fabric strips on any wound. These items are not sterile and could lead to infection. An infected burn can lead to sepsis, which can cause organ failure or death.

If the burn is between your fingers, be sure to use a dressing to separate your fingers to prevent your other fingers from rubbing against the wound.

Can I take a pain reliever for my finger burn?

Always check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription pain reliever, including ibuprofen (e.g., Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol). Alternatively, you can remove your dressing and run the burn under cool water to relieve pain.

For more information about how to avoid burns, how to treat them when they do occur, and how to pay for your medical treatment, check out our blog.  And for help finding a lawyer if you believe another party caused your serious finger burn, call our lawyer referring specialists at 844-549-8774.