Ouch! How Do You Treat a Kitchen Burn?

Treating minor household burns with ice is not recommended by medical professionals.

The other day I accidentally picked up a very hot pan and burned my fingers. I immediately did what I always do when I get a minor burn: apply something cold, usually an ice cube wrapped in a towel, for several minutes. But an internet search this morning told me that ice is not recommended, as it can also cause frostbite.

How do you handle a kitchen burn?

It's important to first acknowledge that we're discussing minor burns here (first degree and some second degree) and that any severe burn should be treated by a medical professional. For a description of burns and how to treat them, see this page from the Mayo Clinic.

Back to my ice cube. While I haven't experienced any difficulty with ice cubes, I will bow to modern medical wisdom and not recommend their use. I do know that the sooner I apply something cold, be it running the burned area under cool running water or pressing something cool from the refrigerator up against it, the better. I find that if I do this as quickly as possible and for as long as possible, the burn doesn't bother me as much.

Some first aid websites suggest applying an ointment and wrapping the burned area in gauze, and others do not. Old-timey remedies like smearing the burn with butter or egg whites and (ahem) pressing with ice are not recommended.

How do you treat minor burns that happens in the kitchen?

Related: Kitchen Accidents: What Lessons Have your Learned?

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.