Burns and scalds are damage to the skin caused by heat, which can be very painful and cause blisters and charred, black or red skin. A burn is caused by dry heat caused by an iron or fire, for example, whilst a scald is caused by something wet, such as hot water or steam. Depending on how serious a burn is, it may be possible to treat it at home, by stopping the burning process as soon as possible and cooling the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes.
More serious burns will require professional medical attention. You should go to a hospital A&E department for all chemical and electrical burns large or deep burns – any burn bigger than your hand, full thickness burns which cause white or charred skin. Also go to A & E for any partial thickness burns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals – these are burns that cause blisters.
Mild burns or scalds that only affect the top layer of skin will usually heal in about a week without any scarring. More severe and deeper burns can take months or even years to fully heal, and will usually leave some visible scarring. A scar forms when the skin is wounded and there is a break in the body’s tissues, and is a patch or line of tissue that remains after a wound has healed.
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