Burns on the hands are small wounds, relative to the size of the entire body. However, despite the relatively small size of the wound, burns on the hands can cause serious disability in the short- or long-term. For this reason, you should receive medical attention for all hand burns that are not very small, first-degree burns. And remember, even after you receive your initial first-aid, you must continue treatment on your own. Learn more about how to treat a burn on the hand here.
How do I treat minor burns?
After performing the initial first aid, keep the wound clean and well-moisturized. Continue normal hand function. If the burn has not healed in a few days, or if it gets worse, get medical help.
You should not treat a chemical or electrical burn to the hand at home, regardless of how minor you think it is. In many cases, there are invisible complications associated with even seemingly minor chemical and electrical burns.
Note: If your burn blisters, you have a second-degree burn. Head to your doctor’s office to determine the best course of action for your burn.
How do I treat severe burns on the hand?
Do not try to treat severe burns by yourself. You will need a team of professionals at a burn center working together to restore function to your hand after a serious burn. Your team may include surgeons, occupational therapists, and nurses.
Follow all instructions your burn team gives you. Do not skip a dressing change or put anything on your burn your team did not suggest.
How do I clean and dress my burn wound?
Clean your burn wound twice a day to prevent infection and remove dead skin. Use only cool water and a mild topical antiseptic, unless your burn team recommends something else. Your burn team might also recommend you use a burn cream to manage pain and provide moisture to the wound.
Depending on the severity of your burn, your burn team might apply a dressing made of pigskin or a semisynthetic dressing made of nylon fabric.
If it does not appear that the burn wound will heal within two weeks of the injury, you might need to undergo skin grafting.
How can I retain function and range of motion?
Proper splinting and positioning of the hand are vitally important to the long-term outcome. If your burn team does not properly splint or position your hand, contractures can cause permanent deformity of the hand.
Occupational therapy is critical for hand function after a burn, regardless of whether the patient has surgery. The occupational therapy evaluation and treatment might begin on the day of the injury or within 24 hours following the injury.
How can I manage the pain while my wound is healing?
In most cases, you can take an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen to manage your pain.
If you want to take a more natural approach, simply running your wound under cool water can lessen the pain. (Be sure to speak with your doctor first.)
Is there anything I should refrain from doing?
There are quite a few things you need to refrain from doing while your burn is healing:
- Do not break blisters. Breaking blisters can dehydrate your burn and cause an infection.
- Burns often itch when they heal; do not scratch your burn. This can introduce bacteria into the wound. (Consider cutting your nails to avoid scratching in your sleep.)
- Do not put anything on your burn or try any home remedies without speaking to your doctor or burn team. Creams and ointments can cause allergic reactions or other complications.
- Do not expose your burn to the sun. The National Health Service in the UK advises keeping your burn protected for up to three years to prevent blistering and hyperpigmentation. We recommend wearing gloves and/or staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
For more information on treating burns on the hand and elsewhere on the body, read through our blog. If your burn was the result of another party’s negligence, you might be entitled to injury compensation. Call one of our lawyer referral specialists today for help: 844-549-8774.