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Questions and answers aboutburns

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

Should I put butter or cream on a burn?

Answer
Answer

No. Butter or cream will not cool the area. All oils retain heat, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to do. If you put anything on top of a burn and it later needs to be removed in hospital, it may cause further pain and damage.

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Q

Should I use ice to cool the burn?

Answer
Answer

No, ice could damage the skin. Use cold water to cool the burn. If you don't have access to cold running water, you can use other cold liquids such as milk, soft drinks and beer to cool the burn.

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Q

How do I know when to go to hospital?

Answer
Answer

Call 999 or go straight to hospital if a baby or child has been burned. If an adult has burned their face or genital area, or if you are in any serious doubt about how severe the burn is, seek medical advice immediately.

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Q

Should I put a plaster over a burn to make sure it doesn't get infected?

Answer
Answer

No. Don’t use any adhesive bandages as they’ll stick to the skin and may cause further damage. After cooling, cover the burn with cling film or a clean plastic bag – this will help prevent infection.

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