No matter where on your body you get them, burns are one of the most painful conditions to have, but they are also one of the easiest to treat, depending on the severity of the burn. Cigarette burns are something that smokers will inevitable deal with at one point in their lives. The tip of a burning cigarette can reach temperatures as high as 495 degrees F.
In some cases people drop their cigarette and in an attempt to keep it from falling, they grab for it, touching the burning tip, which results in a cigarette burn. Other times, the cigarette does fall and can burn quickly through synthetic garments, which can also result in cigarette burns. Yes other times, a child may be trying to climb into a parent's lap, while the parent is holding a cigarette, which can result in the child getting burnt. There have also been documented cases of child abuse in which a parent or guardian burns a child with cigarettes.
Depending on the severity, a cigarette burn can range from a singe of the skin to a third degree burn. At times the cigarette burn can turn into a fluid filled blister, which can eventually break, leaving a small whitish/pink area. Cigarette burns can also have a soft white surface. Oftentimes burns are circular, with a pinkish color on the outside of the ring, turning whiter as you get towards the center of the burn.
As a first line of first aid, run the affected area under cool water in order to cool the burn down. The most common way to treat is a burn is to use a cream called Silvadene, which is prescribed by a doctor. This cream is used on burns to prevent bacterial and fungal infections that may develop as a result of the burn. Wash the burnt area with antibacterial soap and warm water. Remove any excess skin that may have died around the burn (usually pretty easy to pick off). Do not attempt to pick at the burn itself. Dead skin usually comes off after a week or two and a pink area will appear under it once it's removed. Pat dry and apply the Silvadene to the burn. Apply just enough of the cream so that the burn is not visible. Once you have applied the cream, take clean gauze or an adhesive strip and cover the burn. Make sure that you keep the burn moist, covered and out of sunlight. If your burn is severe enough and oozes, keep using Silvadene until the burn stops oozing. Once it has stopped, then you can discontinue using Silvadene and switch over to Bacitracin ointment until the burn is completely healed over.
If a cigarette burn is not treated, not only can it become infected, but it can also leave an ugly scar. When first getting a cigarette burn, it is almost impossible to ignore and not treat because it is so painful. The burn creates a stinging/burning sensation and it often feels as if the skin is on fire. It is possible for a small, minor burn to go mostly untreated, though it is highly recommended that all burns be taken seriously and treated as soon as possible. Even if the burn gets treated properly, it is entirely possible for it to become infected anyway.
There are a few ways to determine whether or not your burn is getting infected. If you have your burn bandaged (which you should), check the gauze or adhesive strip for a green discharge. If it does have a green tinge, chances are good that infection is setting in. If your burn begins to hurt more instead of the pain diminishing, this is another sign that the burn site is getting infected. Also, swelling and signs of the site developing an area of red irritation that seems to get wider are also signs of possible infection.
If you are a smoker, there is no foolproof way to avoid a cigarette burn. They can happen when you least expect it. The only thing you can do is exercise caution when smoking, but even the most cautious smoker is bound to get burnt at some point. There is, however, a sure-fire way to avoid unnecessary cigarette burns. Do not attempt to put cigarettes out in your hand, or any other half-baked stunts which can result in burns from cigarettes. If you do end up with a sever cigarette burn, seek medical attention immediately, as burns can be very serious and prone to infection.