Accidentally touch a hot pan, skillet or stove even for a moment and odds are good you're going to have a painful red burn on your skin. To treat a burn at home, you must first determine how serious the damage is as anything more severe than a first degree burn may require professional medical attention. That being said, minor burns are easy to treat and there are quite a few items commonly found in the home which can be safely and effectively used as a remedy.
Look closely at the burn. Stove burns are most commonly located on the hands and arms. A first degree burn is the least serious type. Affecting the top layer of the skin only, the burned area will be painful to touch and turn bright red. First degree burns heal quickly, though the skin on and around the wound may peel away in the process, which is unsightly, but not uncomfortable. Second degree burns are more serious as they signify damage below the surface of the skin. They are characterized by the formation of blisters and can also be successfully treated at home, unless they are very extensive. Third degree burns will leave the injured area looking white or charred and will leave areas of bone and muscle exposed. Do not attempt to treat these at home, no matter how small the affected area.
Draw the Heat
To treat a burn at home, begin by submerging the damaged area in cold water. If the burn is located in a position which makes this difficult, run cold water over a clean towel and wrap it around the injured area or cover it for 10 minutes. If the affected area still feels as if it's burning, moisten a few bags of tea with cool water and place them over the wounds. Tea contains chemicals known as tannins which will draw the heat from the wound. Hold the bags in place or wrap the area with gauze to keep the tea bags in position. Alternatively, place a slice of potato over the burn. The starches found in raw potato will soothe the injury site.
Treat the Skin
Once the burned area has been sufficiently cooled, you need to think about treating the skin at the injury site. To help relieve the soreness and speed skin recovery, coat the wounded area in honey and then cover it with a piece of sterile gauze. Honey contains a number of compounds which act as natural antibiotics, effectively killing any harmful microbes which may have found their way beneath the skin. Additionally, the enzymes found in honey promote the healing process, reducing recovery time. If you prefer something a bit less sticky, the juice from an Aloe Vera plant can be used to achieve similar results.
Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.