Signs of a Burn

Signs of a burn are localized redness, swelling, and pain. A severe burn will also blister. The skin may also peel, appear white or charred, and feel numb. A burn may trigger a headache and fever. Extensive burns may induce shock, the symptoms of which are faintness, weakness, rapid pulse and breathing, pale and clammy skin, and bluish lips and fingernails.

First- or second-degree burns (those covering less than 15% of an adult’s body or less than 10% of a child’s body, or a third-degree burn on less than 2% of burn surface area or BSA) are considered minor burns and may be treated at home or in a doctor’s office. The first act of thermal burn treatment is to stop the burning process by letting cool (not cold) water run over the burned area or by soaking it in cool water.