Signs of 1st, 2nd, 3rd Degree Burns, Chemical, Electrical Burn Injury Relief Treatment

You’ve got burnt skin and now what. Deal with it on your own or head off to the emergency room.

Burn treatment largely depends on the type and degree of your burn. Also, where and the size need to be considered as well.

Heat, chemical, electrical, sun and radiation are the types of burns. And 1st, 2nd and 3rd are the degree to which your skin is burnt.

A burn is 1st degree if it only damages the outermost layer of your skin. Signs for this minor burn are red, a little swelling, turns white when pressed and likely painful. This describes your typical sunburn.

Treatment relief for this first level of burn starts by cooling the area. Ways to draw heat away from your skin are:

  • soak in cool water
  • run cool water over
  • apply cool compress

No butter, oil, ice or ice water on burns because they may cause additional skin damage.

After your relief from a cool down, loosely cover your burn with a nonstick dressing (Telfa). Nothing fluffy. This helps reduce pain by keeping the air off and protecting your burned skin.

If available, apply aloe vera or antibiotic ointment before bandaging. OTC pain relievers may help if your pain is intolerable.

Healing time for a first degree burn is generally under a week. And try to keep your newly healed skin out of the sun for a while.

2nd degree burns differ from 1st in that they affect the top two layers of skin; redness, pain and swelling signs are more severe; and this degree of burn will blister.

Treatment for a second degree burn is much the same as first, except extend the cooling relief period.

Healing time for this burn degree may take up to 3 weeks. Monitor for signs of infection:

  • pus
  • redness
  • swelling
  • increased pain

Treat minor burn infections with a topical antibiotic. And that 2nd degree blister assists in infection protection, so don’t pop it.

Head out for some medical attention if your burn exceeds 3 inches in diameter. Or your burnt skin is in a sensitive area, like your face or genitals.

3rd degree burns destroy all the layers of your skin, and sometimes the tissue underneath. One sign indicating this type of burn is little or no pain. Reason is because the involved nerves get damaged in the process.


  • soak in cold water
  • apply any ointment
  • take off clothes that stick

Third degree burns do require immediate medical attention, so get going.

Healing time for a 3rd degree burn is a long time.

Minor chemical burns need to be thoroughly rinsed. Afterward, apply a cool wet compress to the area. If burning escalates, rinse again. Once pain subsides, wrap your burned area loosely.

Household batteries can overheat and rupture, causing chemical burns. Precautions to avoid overheating:

  • insert them properly
  • don’t use old ones with new one
  • only recharge rechargeable batteries
  • don’t use alkaline and carbon-zinc batteries together

The major issue with electrical burns is that you may see a minor skin burn, but unseen damage may have occurred inside your body. Even though a burn injury doesn’t show on your skin, a strong jolt of electricity can cause serious internal damage.

As a precaution, you should have your health checked if you’ve had a major shocking experience.