Injuries caused by the skin coming into contact with extremely hot water or steam can range from the minor to the severe, and if not treated correctly, can result in scarring. Children are especially prone to scalding and scarring due to their sensitive skin. Minimise and prevent a scald from scarring by immediately taking care of the area and letting the wound properly heal. Continue to treat and moisturise the wound after it heals to keep the skin soft and minimise any scars that do occur.
Place the scalded area under cool running water immediately after the scald happens to prevent the scald from penetrating any deeper into the skin. Do not use ice or ice water which can cause damage to the skin. Leave water running over the area for 20 minutes.
Remove any clothing that came into contact with the hot water or steam. Heat retained by the clothing can cause the scalding to continue.
Remove any watches, jewellery, or tight clothing that might restrict adequate blood flow to the area.
Cover the wound with cling film for the first day after scalding. Cling film will keep the area sterile and will not stick to the wound. Do not wrap it too tightly. Put petroleum jelly on the wound to keep moisture in and contaminants out.
Cover the wound with non-stick bandaging while it heals. Change the dressing regularly. Continue to put petroleum jelly on the wound, but do not use lotion or ointment, as these can interfere with the healing process. Do not pick at any blisters or scabs that occur.
Treat any scarring that does occur with vitamin-E lotion and silicon scar healing sheets. Use these treatments only after the wound has healed.
For severe scalds, call 911 immediately.
Tips and warnings
- For severe scalds, call 911 immediately.