First Aid

Treat Grease Burn

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Skin burns received while cooking are fairly common. Although a hot grease burn can be extremely painful, in general you do not need to rush to the Emergency Room unless you have a third or fourth degree burn.

First, make sure the stove is turned off so things don't get worse while you are dealing with your burn. If your sleeve or other clothing is also splattered, remove it before flushing the burn with cold water for five to 10 minutes. Do not use ice or ice water. Tap water is fine. If your sleeve or other clothing is stuck to the burn, rinse the entire region without removing the clothing. However, if you have open blistering, do not run the wound under water.

An old wives' tale is to put butter on a burn, but modern medicine has shown this is not an effective treatment and may, in fact, make it worse. Also, do not apply honey, Vaseline, vinegar or any ointments the first day.

There are 4 different ranges of burns:

First degree: burns the first layer of skin and will be red and painful.

Second degree: burns the first and second layer of skin; will blister and/or ooze, and is painful.

Third degree: burns all layers and the tissue underneath. Skin will look charred and/or creamy. May or may not be painful, depending upon whether nerve endings have been destroyed. If you have third degree burning, seek medical treatment.

Fourth degree: burns all layers plus injures muscle, nerves, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and bones. Medical treatment is necessary.

Other factors to influence whether to visit the Emergency Room:

If the burn occurs to your face, hands, feet or pelvic regions.

If the burn is larger than a three inch area.

If the burn is suffered on a child under the age of one year, or a senior citizen.

If the burn shows signs of being infected, such as dark colored oozing appearing in the area.

If the burn does not heal within two weeks.

After you have determined that it is a first or second degree wound and not severe, it can be treated at home. Wrap the area in a gauze pad and leave it alone to begin healing. After 24 hours, wash the area with gentle soap and water or a mild solution of Betadine once a day and cover it up again. If you have an aloe plant, break off a piece in a couple of days and squeeze the juice onto the wound. At this time, an antibiotic ointment should be applied to fight against infection. If blistering occurs, do not pop it as this is your body healing the burn.

A burn that is not severe should heal in a week or two. Vitamin E can be applied to lessen the chance of a scar. Remember, when in doubt, seek medical advice.

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