Expert Burn Prevention and Treatment Tips from Medical City Plano

You can look to the specialists at Medical City Plano’s Burn & Reconstructive Center and Level 1 Trauma Center for expert treatment of burns and traumatic injuries of all types. But they can also help you avoid getting burned and learn what to do if you get burned.

What to Do For a Burn

Salil Gulati, MD, plastic surgeon and burn specialist, emphasizes the importance of avoiding burns but also offers these helpful tips when the unavoidable happens:

  • Don’t panic
  • Don’t jump into water that could be contaminated (river, pond, etc.)
  • Do remove yourself from the burning area
  • Do wrap burned areas with dry, clean cloths
  • Do call 911 for serious accidents or go to the nearest ER for evaluation

What NOT to Do If You Are Burned

Matthew Carrick, MD, Trauma Medical Director at Medical City Plano, debunks several common wives' tales about burn care.

  • Don’t put ice on a burn — you can end up further damaging tissue
  • Don’t use antibiotic ointments — doctors will have to remove it to see the burn

How to Tell the Degree (Severity) of a Burn

Dr. Carrick tells you how to identify first, second and third degree burns.

  • First-degree: skin is red and painful, such as a sunburn
  • Second-degree: red, blistered, swollen, painful
  • Third-degree: deep, whitish color, no pain

Common Ways People Get Burned

Dr. Gulati says that some types of burns are more common among different age groups.

  • Adults tend to get injured by flame burns
  • The most common burns among children are scald burns from hot liquids

Fire Safety Tips

Dr. Carrick reminds people that although October is Fire Prevention Month, fire safety should be practiced year round. According to the CDC, burns and fires are the third leading cause of death in the home and a fire occurs in a home every 169 minutes. Here are four ways you can help prevent one in yours:

  • Have working fire alarms/smoke detectors with fresh batteries
  • Check your water heater temperature and set it to 120°F or low-med
  • Have an escape plan and make sure everyone knows it
  • Cook with care; don’t leave cooking pots unattended