It’s important to recognize when a burn can be treated at home and when you need to seek medical care. You should seek help from a doctor if:
a burn affects a widespread area more than three inches in diameter
the burn includes the face, hands, buttocks, or groin area
the wound becomes painful or smelly
you develop a high temperature
you think you have a third-degree burn
if your last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago
Third-degree burns should never be treated at home. They carry the risk of serious complications, including infections, blood loss, and shock. Often referred to as a “full-thickness burn,” a third-degree burn reaches underlying tissues and can even damage the nerves.
Symptoms of third-degree burn include:
waxy, white-colored skin
dark brown color
raised and leathery texture
Burns caused by an electrical shock are also too risky for home treatment. These burns often reach layers under the skin and can even cause damage to internal tissues. The internal damage may be worse than you expect. Don’t take your chances.
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