How to treat radiation burns

Updated April 12, 2017

There are basically three types of burns, first, second and third degree burns. Burns are categorised according to severity of damage to the skin or underlying organs and how spread out the damage is, as well. First degree burns are less severe while third degree burns can actually burn away a person's nerve endings. Interestingly enough, a patient with a third degree burn may feel no pain, at all. Radiation burns are categorised in much the same way as any other type of burn, according to severity--one, two and three.

Determine the degree of burn. You need to consider how serious and widespread your burn is before you attempt to treat it. Also, try to determine the source of the burn. Find out what happened and get hold of your first aid kit. In some circumstances, a first degree radiation burn may simply go away after a couple of days. You may not need to treat it at all. A second degree radiation burn may show up as blisters and take up to three weeks to heal. If a person's skin is black and charred, cover the affected area and call 911 immediately. It may be a third degree burn.

Take pain medication and use burn ointments. To treat radiation burns, try to administer a little pain relief, if you can. For first degree radiation burns, use ibuprofen and an over the counter antibiotic or burn ointment. Apply the ointment only after gently cleaning the affected area with water. Second degree radiation burns require continual everyday treatment with cool wet cloths and prescribed ointments. Again, if you think someone has a third degree burn, call a doctor right away.

Use Topicure. Topicure is a patented radiation burn treatment and is listed on the National Drug Code Directory (NDC). People sometimes get mild to more severe radiation burns from undergoing radiation treatment for cancer, for example. They need specialised treatment for this. Topicure is a cream that simultaneously reduces pain and heals wounds associated with various types of radiation burns.

Consider alternative forms of treatment, if applicable. There are natural ways to treat some radiation burns. Blue Yarrow Oil mixed with water is reported to reduce pain and swelling in many patients with first and second degree radiation burns. Other known alternatives are Emu oil, curcumin and Tamanu oil.


The National Drug Code Directory was established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The directory is a way of keeping track or all drugs developed in the U.S. It also details how drugs are distributed and for what purpose.


Be sure to look for signs of radiation poisoning. Radiation poisoning may damage organs and symptoms may include serious nausea and vomiting.

Things You'll Need

  • First aid kit
  • Burn ointment
  • Pain reliever
  • Clean cloths
  • Water
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About the Author

Vaughnlea Leonard started her professional writing and editing career in 2005. Her work has appeared in "Press Journal," "Atlantic Publishing Company" and "Hometown News and Florida Today." A former military police enlistee and Florida certified educator, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.