The hand is one of the most frequently used body parts, which means that fingers and palms will often come in contact with dangerous agents that can injure you, including hot surfaces that can burn your fingers and leave it blistered. Everyday items can burn you, such as hot pans or burners, hot steam, and open flames. Depending on the type of the burn, there are a few major ways in which you can treat them at home, but if the burn is severe, you will have to seek medical help.
Burns that cause blisters are second-degree burns, and make the skin look shiny, wet, and red. Third-degree burns go as deep to the bone and require medical attention, while first degree burns only affect the superficial layers of the skin, which makes it sore and red. Follow these steps to treat the burn blisters on your hands.
Remove the finger from the source of heat as fast as you can. Most often your natural reflexes will take care of this step for you, but in the case of a hot liquid or a chemical, you will have to get rid of the burning agent as soon as possible to prevent third-degree burns that need a lot of professional attention to heal.
Rinse your hand under cool water or bathe in cool water for at least five minutes, but preferably even more. This way, the cold temperature of the water will constrict your blood vessels and prevent the fluid loss of the burnt area. Do not run your hand under cold, ice, or warm water as they can make matters even worse.
Let the hand air dry. Do not pat it with a towel as it can stick to the burnt area and cause more pain. If needed, wrap the hand in a clean cloth or towel dampened with cold water to pull the heat from the burn, and reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
Check to see which kind of burn you have. Typically, burns that are three inches or less in diameter can be treated at home, while larger burns fall into the category of third-degree burns that need medical assistance and have to be treated by a professional.
Apply the ointment to the burn with your other hand. Put on sterile gloves and apply a small amount of aloe vera gel or silver sulfadiazine cream to protect the burn. Studies have shown that silver sulfadiazine can prevent infections and help with the healing process, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria. Do not apply butter, toothpaste, or oil to a blister, as this can lead to infections. It is important to note that burns that blister is more prone to infections, therefore it is crucial not to break the blister but to let it heal on its own.
Put a sterile gauze dressing loosely over the blister as it will protect it from the air and alleviate the pain. Cover this dressing with sterile gauze wrap and secure with medical tape which should not touch the blister or the burn. Do not use fluffy dressings or cotton that can shed and stick to the burn. If you have burnt more than one finger, dress each one of them individually to prevent friction. You can even put a few cotton balls between your fingers to prevent friction as well.
You can take an over-the-counter painkiller such as aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate the pain and reduce swelling. You can find various pain relievers that contain acetaminophens, such as Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen. Usually, adults will take a 500mg tablet each four to six hours, and they should be taken with food to avoid upsetting the stomach. Make sure not to take medications you are allergic to. If you are pregnant, avoid acetaminophen, as several studies have shown that it has an effect on the child. Always make sure to consult with your doctor when it comes to pills.
Make sure your dressing and bandage are clean and dry and change them daily. If your dressing is stuck to the burn or the blister, you can soak it in clean water or saline which will make it easier to remove. This way, you are preventing further injury.
Protect your hand from pressure and friction. Friction and/or pressure can cause the blister to pop and disrupt the healing process, and also lead to an infection. Do not bump your hand and try not to touch anything with it.
Be wary of signs of infection. Signs may be redness, oozing of pus, heightened levels of pain, or fever. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor who will evaluate the burn and treat it properly.
Do not pop the blister. Even though it is tempting, do not pop or open the blister as the tissue under it is extremely sensitive and prone to infections. The blister is a natural barrier against the infections and other potential harms, so draining it and popping it can only make the healing process longer. The blisters usually go away after a week or two, and the fluid inside of it is naturally absorbed by the body.
Get a tetanus shot. If your tetanus immunization is overdue, you may want to get a new shot to prevent infection. Tetanus can enter the body through the wound, so if your blister is broken you are prone to getting an infection. Tetanus releases neurotoxins which lead to the spasms and the stiffness of the muscles.