Serious burns : Emergency Room
If you have burns that are deep, gaping or accompanied by smoke inhalation, go to the emergency room. Many medical centers have special burn units and staff members who deal with those injuries every day. Most likely, you’ll get faster treatment there than in an urgent care center or your regular doctor’s office. If you want a second opinion about whether your burns are severe enough for a trip to an ER, talk with your primary care doctor before visiting one. It might be more convenient to use urgent care instead of traveling a long distance—but it also might not be worth it depending on how serious your burns are.
If you have a major burn, go to an emergency room—you need medical help immediately. You should also visit a hospital if you get a burn while using any kind of combustible liquid, such as rubbing alcohol or gasoline. Signs of serious burns include pain or numbness in your hands or feet, skin that’s bright red in color and hot to touch, and blisters. If your burns are small (for example, less than 2 inches wide), use cool water and bandages for first aid. Also avoid aspirin and similar products because they can cause bleeding when applied to wounds. And don’t pop blisters—they should break on their own after four days.
The ER isn’t always necessary for small burns, but if you have serious burns—especially electrical burns or chemical burns—you should go to a hospital. Not only are they more likely to have specialists available who can help with your wound, but they also have sophisticated treatments that can help keep you safe until you heal. In a worst-case scenario, your life could be at risk. If you do need medical attention and aren’t sure whether it’s an emergency or not, call 911 for guidance. That way, even if you do get sent home after being evaluated by paramedics, you still won’t be alone in case of an adverse reaction or complication.