Watch our video to learn how to treat burns and when you should seek medical attention for a burn.

Here's a brief summary of how to treat a burn:

  • Cool the burn for 10-20 minutes with clean cold water or a harmless liquid, or apply a burn gel or dressing. Be careful not to induce hypothermia, especially when cooling a serious burn.
  • Remove clothing and jewellery from near the burn before it begins to swell, but do not remove anything stuck to the burn.
  • Protect the burn with cling film, a clean plastic bag (if a hand or foot) or alternatively a sterile dressing or a non-fluffy pad.
  • Seek medical attention if necessary.

You should seek medical advice for any burn to a child. For adults, you should seek medical attention for the following burns:

  • All full-thickness burns.
  • All partial-thickness burns larger than 1% of the body's surface (roughly the same as palm of the casualty's hand).
  • All superficial burns larger than 5% of the body's surface (5 palm areas).
  • Burns comprising a mixed pattern of varying depths.
  • All burns that extend right around an arm or a leg.
  • All burns to the face, hands, feet or genitals.

How do I tell how serious a burn is?

There are 3 types of burn: superficial, partial-thickness, and full-thickness.
  • Superficial burns involve only the outermost layer of skin and are characterised by redness, tenderness and swelling. Sunburn is a common type of superficial burn.
  • Partial-thickness burns are very painful and cause redness and blistering. These burns usually heal well but can be life-threatening if they affect over 20% of the body in an adult or 10% in a child.
  • Full-thickness burns affect all the layers of the skin and may also damage the nerves, fat tissue, muscles and blood vessels underneath. The destruction of nerve endings in the skin means pain sensation is lost, which can mask the severity of the injury. The skin may looked charred, waxy or pale. These burns require urgent hospital treatment.

For all our specialist burns first aid products, click here.