Before we discuss home remedies for burns on the hand, we need to determine which are safe to treat at home. You should never attempt to treat a second-, third-, or fourth-degree burn at home, especially one on the hand. Second-, third-, and fourth-degree burns require medical attention to prevent complications, significant impairment, and disability.
You should also seek medical attention for chemical and electrical burns and any burns from a flame.
If you have a first-degree burn, chances are good that you can treat it by at home; however, we always recommend burn victims seek medical care for any burns on the hand, regardless of presumed severity. There are various complications that can arise from a burn on the hand.
What home remedies can I use to relieve pain?
Good Old H2O
The first thing you should do to relieve the heat in your burn is to run it under cool water for 15-20 minutes. However, you can also do this to relieve pain naturally when your burn is healing.
Never use ice or ice water on a burn as it can damage the tissue surrounding the burn.
Once you have rinsed your burn, wash it carefully with a mild soap and water.
Note: Keep an eye on your burn for 24-48 hours. If your burn begins blistering, you have a second-degree burn and you need to head to the doctor.
Over-the-Counter Pain Killers
After checking with your doctor, you can also take an over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to relieve pain and discomfort.
Ointments and Creams
Before you apply anything to a burn, always check with a doctor. You might cause an allergic reaction or worsen the burn.
You can find a wide variety of over the counter creams and ointments for burns at the drugstore. These products do one or more of the following: relieve surface pain, provide moisture, prevent infection, and prevent or minimize scars. Check with your doctor, then use as directed, with or without dressing. (Ask your doctor whether you should use a dressing, and, if so, which would be best.)
Some of these are commercially-prepared, such as burn creams and ointments you can buy in the drugstore, and others are purely natural, like aloe vera.
Other natural home remedies you can use on burns on the hand are medicinal-grade honey or tincture of calendula.
Do not apply any of the following to a burn on the hand:
- Butter, oil, and any other greasy substances
- Egg white
- Lemon juice
Note: Do not apply creams or ointments to a second-degree burn. It can cause an allergic reaction or infection.
How can I protect my burn while it is healing?
Wearing a dressing will protect your burn from contaminants and keep it moisturized. You can find sterile dressings at the drug store that are suitable for use on small, minor burns to the hands. You can use either plain sterile gauze or preformed nonstick gauze pads. Plain gauze has the tendency to stick to wounds, but a cream or ointment can help with this.
Do not use non-sterile dressings such as washcloths, napkins, paper towels, strips of fabric, or rags on your burn wound. These are not sterile, which means they could cause your burn wound to become infected. Infected burn wounds are highly susceptible to developing sepsis, which is an infection in the blood stream. Sepsis can cause organ failure or even death. Only use sterile dressings on your burn wound.
If you need a dressing but have none at home, you can use plastic wrap in the meantime; just be sure to tear off the first layer of the plastic wrap roll.
Keep Blisters Intact
You might have heard that popping a blister can help your burn heal or that it will prevent scarring. This simply is not true. Never pop a blister for the following reasons:
- Your skin needs the fluid contained in the blister
- Popping a blister can lead to infection and other complications
Keep your burn covered to prevent popping it.
Keep Your Skin Covered
To prevent your skin from scarring, you should always keep it covered from the elements. You can wear gloves over the dressing on your burn to protect it from the sun.
For more information about treating burns on any part of your body, check out our blog.