Burn Wound: Wound Check, No Infection

Your burn is healing as expected.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for yourself at home:

  • If a bandage was put on, you should change it once a day, unless told otherwise. If the bandage sticks, soak it off in warm water. A bandage left in place too long can make an infection worse.

  • Wash the area with a mild soap and water to remove all cream, ointment, ooze, or scab. You may do this in a sink, under a tub faucet, or in the shower. Rinse off the soap and pat the area dry with a clean towel. Look for signs of infection, such as redness or drainage.

  • Put cream or ointment, as advised, on the wound to prevent infection and to keep the bandage from sticking.

  • Cover the burn with nonstick gauze. Then wrap it with the bandage material.

  • If the bandage becomes wet or soiled, change it as soon as you can.

  • Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your healthcare provider before using these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding.

  • Ask your provider if you need a tetanus shot.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Most burns heal without infection. Sometimes an infection may occur even with correct treatment. So check the burn every day for the signs of infection listed below.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pain in the wound gets worse

  • Redness or swelling gets worse

  • Pus comes from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Chills

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