Home care instructions for burns

Wash involved areas with mild soap. Avoid perfumed soaps as they may cause irritation. Make sure to gently wash involved area thoroughly as excess buildup (i.e.: drainage or dead skin) may result in skin breakdown.

Signs of infection after a burn:

Observe the wound for any signs of infection. These include: swelling, redness, foul odor, green or yellow drainage from the wound, warmth at the site of swelling and redness, fever. Please notify the Burn Treatment Center if you notice any of these signs.

Apply dressings:

  • Mycitracin
  • Vigilon
  • Xeroform
  • Silvadene: Cover with gauze and keep clean and dry. In the evening apply a layer of Silvadene over your dressing; wrap with gauze.

General instructions for dealing with a burn:

Avoid trauma to involved areas as this skin is sensitive and delicate.

Avoid exposure to sun, and to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

When outside, use a #15 or greater sunscreen and wear protective clothing. Apply 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Reapply every 30 minutes if perspiring.

Keep the involved area elevated as much as possible--this will relieve some discomfort and reduce the swelling to the affected area.

Itching may be a problem; if present, talk with the doctor, who may prescribe a medication to help you.

Do not drive until you are pain free.

Prescriptions related to burn care:

Pain Medication may be prescribed.

Take 30 to 45 minutes prior to dressing changes or scheduled appointment on the Burn Unit.

Antibiotics may be prescribed; take as directed.


Resume your usual diet.

Eat a well-balanced diet.

If the following occurs, contact the Burn Treatment Center:

  1. Temperature over 38.0° C or 100.4° F.
  2. Signs of wound infection.
  3. Sudden onset of severe, unusual pain, nausea, vomiting.
  4. Bleeding from wound site.
Last reviewed: 
December 2018

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