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How should you treat a severe burn?

When you or a loved one has a severe burn, your first instinct may be to reach for the ice. Unfortunately, icing a wound can do more damage. Ice itself can harm sensitive skin and make the burn worse.

According to MayoClinic, burns can happen during car, electrical and chemical accidents. To treat minor burns, using cool water works better to soothe a burn. Never use cold water or ice. Try to run the burn under cool water for about 10 minutes. On the other hand, you need to take more action for major burns.

Protecting the burn

Remove any clothing, accessories or jewelry from the area to protect a burn. Burns swell quickly and clothing and jewelry can cut off your circulation. If clothing sticks to the burn, do not peel it off. You want to ensure you do not peel the skin off with the clothing. Use a loose cover like clean gauze to cover the burn to keep it safe. If possible, lift the burned area above heart level.

Watching for complications

Various complications can make burn injuries even more severe than they already are. First, people can go into shock when dealing with burns. The first signs of shock may include a weak pulse, shallow breathing and clammy skin. In addition to initial complications, burn injuries can cause nerve damage or infection. When patients do not keep their injuries clean or covered as directed by physicians, it can cause a severe infection.

Other burns require different types of care. Electrical burns and chemical burns, for example, may require more care.