Are You Really Not Supposed To Put Ice On A Burn?

Published: May 19, 2014
Dear Are You Really Not Supposed To Put Ice On A Burn?,

I heard you are not supposed to put ice on a burn. Is that true?


Dear Are You Really Not Supposed To Put Ice On A Burn?,

How you treat a burn depends on the severity of the burn. Burns are categorized into first, second and third degree burns. However, regardless of what degree the burn is, it is not recommended to put ice on the burn because it can cause the body to become too cold and has the potential to cause even greater damage to the area.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for minor burns (first degree burns) it is recommended to hold the burned area under cool water for 10-15 minutes or until the pain subsides. If it is not possible to hold the burn under running water, you can immerse the burn in cool water or you can cool it with a cold compress. This will reduce swelling. Just make sure to use cool, not cold, water and to never put ice on the burn.

For a more detailed explanation of the different types of burns and how to treat each type, read the Mayo Clinic article Burns: First Aid

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