HF 4290

Care of First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are often caused by sunburns, scalds, flames and/or heat. The skin looks red and feels warm to the touch. There are no blisters. These burns are most often treated at home. The burned skin may tan, flake, or peel a few days after the burn.


  • Relieve pain by bathing the area or taking cool baths or showers. Never use ice to treat burns. Ice may cause more injury to the skin.

  • Apply creams or lotions to the burned skin to keep it moist. These can also help control pain. Avoid creams and lotions with alcohol, perfumes, fragrances or numbing ingredients. We suggest: Nivea®, Keri Lotion®, Eucerin®, or Aquaphor®.

  • Control pain with acetaminophen (Tylenol®), extra strength Tylenol®, or ibuprofen.

  • Prevent or treat swelling by keeping the burned area elevated. If the burns are on your head or face, put pillows under the head of the mattress for more elevation.


Drink 10-12 glasses of fluid daily. You need extra fluids when you have a burn to prevent dehydration. Call your doctor if you are unable to keep fluids down.

Who to Call

Burn and Wound Clinic
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
(608) 264-8040 or (800) 323-8942

After hours, the clinic phone number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the Burn doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.