Skin burns received while cooking are fairly common. Although a hot grease burn can be extremely painful, in general you do not need to rush to the Emergency Room unless you have a third or fourth degree burn.
First, make sure the stove is turned off so things don’t get worse while you are dealing with your burn. If your sleeve or other clothing is also splattered, remove it before flushing the burn with cold water for five to 10 minutes. Do not use ice or ice water. Tap water is fine. If your sleeve or other clothing is stuck to the burn, rinse the entire region without removing the clothing. However, if you have open blistering, do not run the wound under water.
An old wives’ tale is to put butter on a burn, but modern medicine has shown this is not an effective treatment and may, in fact, make it worse. Also, do not apply honey, Vaseline, vinegar or any ointments the first day.
There are 4 different ranges of burns:
First degree: burns the first layer of skin and will be red and painful.
Second degree: burns the first and second layer of skin; will blister and/or ooze, and is painful.
Third degree: burns all layers and the tissue underneath. Skin will look charred and/or creamy. May or may not be painful, depending upon whether nerve endings have been destroyed. If you have third degree burning, seek medical treatment.
Fourth degree: burns all layers plus injures muscle, nerves, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and bones. Medical treatment is necessary.
Other factors to influence whether to visit the Emergency Room:
- If the burn occurs to your face, hands, feet or pelvic regions.
- If the burn is larger than a three inch area.
- If the burn is suffered on a child under the age of one year, or a senior citizen.
- If the burn shows signs of being infected, such as dark colored oozing appearing in the area.
- If the burn does not heal within two weeks.
In the case of burns, first aid is vital. Serious burns of course need immediate medical attention as we mentioned above. However, minor burns can be quite painful as well and there are some things you can do to aid in comfort and to speed up the important healing process.
So after you have determined that it is a first or second degree wound and not severe, it can be treated at home. Here are six common home remedies for grease burn:
- Wrap the area in a gauze pad and leave it alone to begin healing. After 24 hours, wash the area with gentle soap and water or a mild solution of Betadine once a day and cover it up again.
- Cool milk or plain iced tea (not sugared, no lemon added) work even better, as they provide some healing benefits as well. Milk promotes healing of minor burns because of its fat content. Tea is rich in compounds called tannins, which can help to form an antiseptic coating.
- Aloe vera contains a substance that reduces inflammation and swelling. Not only that, but it inhibits the action of bradykinin, which is the peptide that produces the pain you feel when you burn yourself. It also blocks thromboxane, which is a chemical that accompanies burn injuries. Why is it good to block this chemical? Because it slows down the actual healing process.
- So if you have an aloe plant on your kitchen windowsill, break off a piece in a couple of days and squeeze the juice onto the wound. At this time, an antibiotic ointment should be applied to fight against infection. If blistering occurs, do not pop it as this is your body healing the burn.
- Vitamin E is also said to heal and ease burns. It comes in oil form, as well as burn salves. It is said to also prevent blistering and peeling. Vitamin A and D ointments are also said to work in much the same way. Both of these items can be found in many health food stores. Some good old-fashioned petroleum jelly will do the trick as well.
- Some people have also reported success with using layers of sliced raw potatoes on a burn. If you use those, it’s vital to get them on the skin as quickly as possible and to change them every two to three minutes. The way potatoes work is because at first they cool the skin providing some relief, then they build a protective layer of starch on the skin.
A burn that is not severe should heal in a week or two. However, when in doubt, seek medical advice.