Unfortunately, steam burns are a fairly common experience. Whether you are a professional cook or were just experimenting in your kitchen at home, you can end up developing a steam burn. When you are exposed to rising steam, your skin becomes red, inflamed and irritated. Before you give yourself first aid, you need to determine the extent of the burn. A small, painful patch is probably just a superficial burn that can be readily treated at home. Severe burns can cause numbness and require professional medical treatment. Even if you were only exposed to a little steam, you can still develop a severe burn that requires professional medical treatment.
How to Treat a Steam Burn
Before you bust out the home remedies, make sure that you have a steam burn that can be effectively treated at home. Only treat superficial burns at home. Any serious burns, especially burns with blistering, should be treated by a doctor. If you can treat your steam burn at home, the following home remedies can help.
1. Plantain Leaves
Since ancient times, human beings in Europe and Asia have used plantain leaves to treat their burns and cuts. The plantain leaves grow on a green, weedy plant in the wild. Over the last few centuries, they have spread from Asia and Europe to all parts of the world. This is not the same plant as the one that creates the banana-like vegetable, so make sure that you are using the right plantain leaves.
These leaves are naturally high in mucilage, irigoid glycosides and tannins. Together, these ingredients give plantain leaves anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-hemorrhagic properties. You can apply them directly to your skin in a few easy steps. First, crush the fresh leaves so that juice is released. Then, apply the juice to your burn to help with healing and provide pain relief. Since the leaves have antimicrobial properties, they can also help to prevent the wound from becoming infected.
2. Apple Honey
Honey is an amazing home remedy that is in most kitchen cupboards. It possesses natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for healing. If you have a non-serious, superficial steam burn, then you can use honey to promote healing and prevent an infection. Dab a little of the honey on your wound and wrap it in a gauze to protect it from the outside world. This will help to draw out fluids and bacteria while keeping the wound clean so that it can heal.
3. Use Tea
Most likely, you have already heard that a black tea bag can alleviate toothache pain. It can also help to heal a minor burn. The tannic acid in black tea helps to draw heat from the wound while providing anti-inflammatory properties. There are several ways that you can apply it. The first option is to boil five tea bags and two cups of fresh mint leaves in four cups of boiling water. Once the mixture has cooled down completely, you can apply it to the burn. You can also just put several tea bags in a cup of water, wait for 10 to 20 minutes and then apply the mixture to your wound.
When you burn yourself or have a scab, it can start to feel itchy. If you scratch this itch, it can worsen your wound or prevent healing from happening. Oatmeal is a natural way to treat itchy skin. You just need to put oatmeal into a container of lukewarm water. Soak your burn in this mixture for about 20 minutes. Let the wound dry out without rinsing off because the remaining oatmeal residue will help to prevent further itching and encourage healing.
5. Soak It in Milk
One easy at-home remedy is milk. All you have to do is soak your wound in milk for about 20 minutes. You can also dip a cloth into milk and dab it onto the burn site to relieve the pain. You can repeat the same process every two to three hours or as needed to alleviate pain and soothe the wound.
6. Salt Water
Salt water will not feel particularly good on the wound, but it can prevent infection and help it heal. Blend eight ounces of water with just ½ teaspoon of salt. Use this mixture to rinse your wound about every hour. This solution also works extremely well if you have a burn or other wound in your mouth.
7. Use a Cold Compress
A cold compress will help to soothe your wound and can help reduce the inflammation. As a result, it can greatly reduce the pain you experience and prevent your burn from becoming worse. Never, ever use ice on your burn. Ice damages the skin cells around the wound, limits blood flow and prevents the wound from healing. Instead, use use a cold compress for 10 minutes to help soothe your burn. You can also run your burn under cool water for about 10 minutes to achieve the same effect.
When Should You Go to the Doctor?
If your burn does not heal within a few weeks, you should seek medical attention. You should also go to your doctor if it is infected. Common signs of an infection include swelling, oozing, pain and redness. If you are not sure how severe your burn is, go to your doctor. If there are blisters present, then you have at least a second-degree burn and may need professional medical treatment. Likewise, any burn that is larger than a few inches or is located on the genitals, feet or bottom should receive professional medical care.
If you only have a superficial burn, you can use these at-home remedies. Pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help reduce the pain that you experience.
As a future precaution, make sure that you keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure that your hot water heater is set less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent burns. Never allow a child to be alone in the kitchen and install a child-proof lock on the oven. You should also make sure to use oven mitts and potholders to prevent burns.