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How to Treat a Burn Bubble
A burn bubble, also known as a blister, most commonly appears with a second degree burn. A burn bubble is a raised pouch on top of the skin that is filled with fluid, usually clear in color. Burn bubbles occur when the skin is burned from contact with fire, heat or scalding. Properly treating a burn bubble will prevent infection and help the blister to heal quickly.
Identify the type of burn before administering treatment. First degree burns affect only the top layer of skin and usually do not produce burn bubbles 1. Second degree burns affect both the top layer of skin and the layers of skin underneath. Second degree burns do cause burn blisters. Third degree burns are a severe type of burn, affecting all layers of skin and require immediate medical attention.
Soak the burned area in cool water to reduce the heat from the burn. Rather than soaking, you can use cold compresses on the affected area. Use only cold water, not ice or ice water on a burn.
Administer an antibiotic ointment to the burn bubble. Cover the blister loosely with a piece of sterile gauze. Gauze should be larger than the entire burn area. Secure with surgical tape, taking care not to stick the tape to the blister or the burned area of skin.
Avoid popping or breaking the blister. Opening the blister increases the risk of infection. The burn bubble will shrink on it's own. If the burn bubble pops on it's own, keep the area covered to prevent exposure and infection.
Take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve pain. Apply antibiotic ointment and change bandages daily. Watch for signs of infection including swelling, redness or pus. If any of these symptoms occur, consult with your physician.
- Cold water
- Cold compress
- Antibiotic ointment
- Surgical tape
- Pain medicine
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