Burns severe enough to cause blisters, breaks in the skin and all electrical burns should be evaluated right away by a physician. Burns to the hands, face and genitals are more serious than burns in other locations. Burns that merely cause redness of the skin and do not cause blisters or breaks in the skin are generally minor and require only watchful care. The following steps can be taken at home immediately after a burn to both minimize further burning and to begin treatment.


  1. Hold the burned area under cool water for several minutes.
  2. Use Acetaminophen (Tempra, Tylenol) for pain (see Dosing Guide).
  3. An antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin can be applied and the area covered with a dressing. Clean white socks are good for protecting burns on the hands or feet. If your child has an extensive burn, clean sheets can be used for protection while on the way to the doctor or hospital.
  4. If the burn results in blistering or breaks in the skin, a tetanus booster will be needed if one has not been given during the last five years.