Understanding Burn Cream in First Aid Kits
Burn cream is an essential in a first aid kit, today’s blog we will talk more about their purpose.
Why should you include burn cream in your first aid kit?
Short Answer: It provides immediate temporary relief to someone with extensive burn injuries during an emergency
- The burn cream has a cooling effect that helps with first and second degree burns
- It is vital in the healing process for minor burns
- Burn cream prevents the infection of burns from happening
- It moisturises and forms a protective barrier on the burn injury
The Importance of Burn Cream in First Aid
Burn cream plays a major role in first aid for burns and is an essential component of any well-prepared first aid kit. There are many reasons as to why it is so important to include in your first aid kit, they are:
Burn cream often contains ingredients that provide immediate pain relief by soothing the affected area. Burns can be extremely painful, and the application of burn cream will help with the discomfort experienced and the person will feel temporary comfort.
Another reason is the cooling effect burn cream has, which helps lower the temperature of the burn. This cooling sensation can reduce inflammation, minimise further damage, and relieve the burning sensation from the injury.
Prevention of infection
Burn cream often contains antimicrobial agents that help prevent infection in the affected area. Burns create an open wound, leaving skin vulnerable to bacterial or fungal infections. The antimicrobial properties of burn cream reduces risk of infection and helps with faster healing.
Burn cream is designed to provide moisture to the burn site, helping to keep the affected area hydrated. The moisturization can aid in the healing process by preventing scabs from forming and promoting the growth of new, healthy skin.
Minimization of scarring
Properly applied burn cream can reduce the development of scarring, by keeping the burn moisturised and protected. When encouraging the regeneration of healthy skin, burn cream contributes to a smoother healing process, and reduces the likelihood of long-term scarring.
Burn creams are formulated for easy application, often available in convenient forms such as creams, gels, or sprays.
They can be readily applied to the burn site, allowing for immediate relief and treatment.
Note that the severity of the burn determines the appropriate first aid response. For severe burns, immediate medical attention will be needed. Burn cream is generally recommended for minor burns, mostly first-degree and second-degree burns.
Types of Burn Cream to Consider for Your First Aid Kit
There are a variety of burn cream that you can select to add in your first aid kit, each having their own benefits and applications. Here are the types of burn creams you can consider:
Water-based hydrogel burn creams are widely used for their cooling and soothing properties. They provide immediate relief by cooling the burn and preventing further damage. Hydrogel burn creams are non-adherent, meaning they do not stick to the wound. These creams help with minimal scarring and provide moisture.
This type of cream contains a local anaesthetic that provides pain relief for burn injuries. It numbs the affected area, reducing discomfort and allowing for easier wound care. It can be used for minor burns, particularly when it comes to pain relief.
Aloe Vera gel
A natural remedy that’s been used for centuries because of its soothing and healing properties. Aloe Vera is generally safe to use and widely available, to the point where you can even grow it in your own garden if you have one.
Silver Sulfadiazine cream
Silver Sulfadiazine cream is a commonly used antimicrobial burn cream. It helps mitigate infection by killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria on the burn site.
It is particularly beneficial for burns that have a higher risk of infection, like with second-degree burns or burns that cover a large area.
It can be available by prescription or under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Note that for severe burns that cover a large area, immediate medical attention is required. Consult with professionals regarding the use of the burn creams, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
How to Use Burn Cream Safely and Effectively for Minor Burns
Minor burns can be treated safely and effectively at home with burn cream, they are first-degree burns but still hurt significantly and can leave a scar behind if they are not treated immediately and properly.
Let’s take a look at how burn creams can be used safely and effectively for these minor burns:
Assess the burn
Firstly you will need to determine the severity of the burn. Minor burns are usually superficial, affecting only the top layer of the skin. The symptoms are redness, mild swelling, and pain. For more severe burns or burns with blistering, seek medical attention.
Cleanse the area
Before applying the burn cream, gently cleanse the burnt area with mild soap and cool water. Avoid using harsh or abrasive substances that can further irritate the burn. Pat the area dry with a clean, sterile cloth.
Apply a thin layer of burn cream
Take a small amount of burn cream and apply a thin layer directly to the burn. Spread it evenly over the affected area, completely covering it. Make sure you don’t apply excessive amounts of cream, as it could affect the burn’s ability to breathe.
Don’t pop blisters!
If the burn has formed blisters, do not pop them. Popping these blisters can increase the risk of infection. The fluid-filled blisters act as a natural barrier and aid in the healing process of the burn.
Cover the burn
Depending on the location and size of the burn, cover it with a sterile non-sticking bandage or sterile gauze.
Secure the dressing
Use medical tape or bandage to secure the dressing and keep it in place. The tape or bandage should not be too tight, as it can restrict blood flow or cause discomfort.
Monitor the healing process
Keep an eye on the burn and monitor the healing process. If there are any signs of infection (worsening pain, swelling) seek medical attention. Note that the above guidelines are for minor burns. Properly using burn cream for minor burns can help with the healing process.
Tips for Choosing and Storing Burn Cream in Your First Aid Kit
It requires a lot of careful consideration when it comes to choosing and storing your burn cream, especially its effectiveness and longevity. Here are some tips that can help your make your decision easier:
Read product labels
When selecting a burn cream, read the product labels to understand the ingredients, recommended use, and any specific precautions or warnings. Look for burn creams that are specifically formulated for minor burns and have soothing antimicrobial, and moisturising properties.
Size and packaging
The size and packaging of the burn cream needs to be a strong point to consider when purchasing it. Go for travel-sized or individually packaged tubes or packets that are convenient for storage and use in your first aid kit. The packaging should be secure and well-sealed to prevent leakage or contamination.
Check the expiration date on the burn cream packaging. Ensure that the product is within its validity period before purchasing or using it. Expired burn cream may be less effective and even potentially harmful if it is used.
The burn cream will need to be stored in a cool, dry place that’s away from direct sunlight. Excessive moisture can degrade the effectiveness of the product. Maintain a consistent storage environment to preserve the integrity of the burn cream.
First Aid organisation
Keep the burn cream in a designated compartment or section of your first aid kit. This way it will be easily accessible, and there won’t be any damage to the packaging. Label the pouches or containers to separate the burn cream from other items in the kit. The tips mentioned above will hopefully influence your decision to purchase the right burn cream for your first aid kit.
For more information about treating burns, read our article A Guide to Natural Remedies for Burns.
Another article about the different types of burns you can get will be helpful as well, click here to check it out.
To learn more about burn bandages and the different types, you can read the article here.
What is the difference between burn cream and gel?
The main difference between burn cream and gel lies in the consistency and composition. While both are intended to provide relief and aid in the healing of burns, they have different formulations and properties.
Burn creams are generally water-based or oil-based formulations, have a creamy consistency and are thicker compared to gels. Gels are typically hydrogel formulations, have a gel-like consistency, are more transparent and easily spreadable compared to creams.
How long does it take for burn blisters to heal?
The time it takes for burn blisters to heal can vary depending on the severity of the burn and individual factors. The time frame could be approximately 8 weeks, but again it depends on how bad the burn is, individual healing abilities and proper wound care.
This is why the burn blisters need to be kept clean and protected so that there is no infection. If there are any concerns about the healing process, consult with a healthcare professional.
Burns are very painful, no matter if it is a first, second, or third-degree burn. Proper care with burn cream will aid during the healing process.