Burns can be caused by heat, fire, radiation, sunlight, electricity, hot or boiling liquids, or chemicals.


How Serious is a Burn?

First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin. They are red and painful, might swell a little, and turn white when you press on the skin. First degree burns usually heal in 2 to 3 days and can be treated at home.

Second-degree burns affect the second layer of the skin, are very painful, and typically produce blisters  or moist areas on the skin. The skin is red or splotchy, and might be very swollen.

Third-degree burns damage all layers of the skin, and sometimes other tissues. The burned skin looks white or charred. There may little or no pain because the nerves and tissue in the skin are damaged.

Some areas of a burn may be deeper and more severe, and it might be difficult to tell how serious a burn is. If you have doubts about the severity of a burn or how to care for it, see a doctor right away.

We can help determine the severity of burns at Urgent Family  Care in Sevierville and Knoxville Tennessee.


Treatment for Burns

See a doctor immediately if:

  • The burn is larger than 2 to 3 inches.
  • The burn covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, a major joint or a large area of the body.
  • The burn is deep.
  • The burn is caused by electricity, chemicals, hot wax, or hot oil that is difficult to remove.
  • The patient has difficulty breathing, or might have burns to the airway.

Call a doctor if the burn:

  • Develops large blisters.
  • Shows signs of infection, such as oozing, pus, or increased swelling and redness.
  • Does not heal after a few days.
  • Could cause significant scarring.


First Aid for Burns

  • Cool the burn. Run cool (not cold) tap water over the burn for 10 to 15 minutes, or apply a clean towel soaked in cool water until the pain eases. Do not use ice.
  • For chemical burns, flush the area with large quantities of cool water.
  • Remove rings or other items from the burned area before it swells..
  • Do not break small blisters. If blisters break, gently clean the area with mild soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage.
  • Apply moisturizer or aloe vera lotion or gel while the burn heals.
  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Use sunscreen and moisturizer regularly once the wound is healed.


For Major Burns

Call 911 right away. Remove jewelry, belts, or constrictive clothing. Do not remove cloth that is stuck to the burn. Cover the burned area with a cool, damp cloth. Do not attempt to immerse a large burn in cool water. If possible, elevate the burned area above the level of the heart. Watch for signs of shock.



Most sunburn can be treated by taking a cool shower and applying aloe vera gel or a moisturizer. Drink fluids and avoid exposure to the sun for several days. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and discomfort.

Seek medical attention if the sunburn covers a large area, is very painful, or forms blisters, or if you experience:

  • Facial swelling
  • Fever and chills
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache, confusion, or faintness
  • Signs of dehydration

Treatment for burns is available now at Urgent Family  Care in Sevierville and Knoxville.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.