The fingers are often the first body parts that come in contact with sources of heat such as a flame, scalding steam or a hot burner. Other burns include electrical burns, sunburn and chemical burns. For a first-degree burn, it only affects the superficial or outermost skin layer which becomes sore and red. As for second-degree burns, it affects the middle skin layers and can cause the formation of blisters while the skin becomes reddened, shiny and wet. Lastly, third-degree burns reaches up to the deep tissues and bone. This type of burn requires immediate medical attention to prevent complications from occurring.
Steps in caring for burn blisters on fingers
- Take away the finger from the source of heat right away. This is usually done by the natural reflex of pulling away from any hot object. In case a chemical or scalding liquid caused the burn, it should be removed as soon as possible.
- Rinse or cleanse the affected finger for at least 5 minutes under cool running water or immerse in a cool water bath only if the skin is not open. Avoid using ice water or warm water since these will only worsen the burn.
- After cleaning, allow the affected finger to air dry. Cover the finger with burn blisters using a clean towel moistened with cool water. This helps conduct heat away from the burn, thus reducing the swelling and pain.
- Try to determine the area of skin involved in the burn. Second-degree burns that have a 3-inch diameter or less can be managed at home. If the burn is wide and considered as a third-degree burn, it requires immediate medical care and care by a doctor.
- When applying silver sulfadiazine cream or aloe vera gel to shield the burn blister, you have to wear sterile gloves. Silver sulfadiazine works by preventing infection and promotes the healing process. Burn blisters are more likely to become infected. Remember that the blisters should stay intact. If they are open, the risk for infection is increased.
- Wrap the finger with burn blisters using sterile gauze in a loose manner. This provides protection from the air as well as reducing pain. Wrap the gauze using sterile gauze wrap and secure the bandage in place using medical tape. Make sure that the tape will not stick on the blisters. Avoid using fluffy or cotton-based dressings due to the lint that can adhere on the burn.
- Provide the individual with an over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen to minimize swelling or acetaminophen to reduce the pain. The medication can be taken with food to minimize the chance of stomach upset. The individual should not take any medication that he/she is allergic to. The medication must be taken based on the labelling and discuss any possible side effects with the doctor.
- The bandage must be clean and dry at all times by changing it on a daily basis.
- Observe for any indications of infection. The individual must report increasing pain, drainage, redness or fever to the doctor right away. Always bear in mind that an infected burn must be carefully assessed and managed by a doctor to prevent further issues from arising.