|Causes||Time Spent Outside, Trauma, Environmental Chemicals|
|See Also||Dermatology / Skin Conditions, Injuries|
|Books||Books on Skin Diseases|
|Articles||Articles on Dermatology / Skin Conditions|
More than two million Americans suffer from burns every year, with children and the elderly being the most affected. Almost all (80%) of minor burns occur in the home, sunburns are the most common minor burn that occurs outside the home. Naturopathic treatment typically deals with superficial or minor burns - second degree or severe burns are treated as a medical emergency.
Burns typically occur due to contact with high heat, hot water or electricity. They can also occur as a result of exposure to chemicals.
- UV radiation is the primary cause of sunburn.
- Contact with hot or boiling water is the primary cause of burns within the home.
- Household Chemical
- Contact with household chemicals or cleansers can cause burns.
- Prescription Medications
- Many prescription medications increase one's sensitivity to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn.
- Sunburn symptoms can include:
- Three Stages of Wound Healing
- Each stage has specific and complicated mechanisms which together heal wounds, including burns, and is an amazing manifestation of the ability of the body to heal itself.
- Tissue remodeling
- Classification of Burns
- The severity of the burn depends on the duration of contact with the heat source. Burns can be classified as superficial, superficial partial thickness, deep partial thickness, and full thickness. These terms replace the old classification system of first, second and third degree burns. Minor superficial burns are the only ones that may be safely treated at home. All other burns should be immediately treated by a trained health-care professional. 
- Superficial burns are small, superficial, and shallow, usually caused by a brief contact with a heat source. They do not extend down past the top layer of skin. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and redness and rarely with blistering.
- Superficial partial thickness burns result from more prolonged exposure to a heat source that still only affects the skin surface. Symptoms include pain, temperature sensitivity, weeping blisters, and redness that whitens (blanches) with pressure.
- Deep partial thickness burns extend down below the skin’s surface, affecting the dermis of the skin. These burns may be a result of scalding, flash ignition, and flames. Symptoms include intense pain and at times loss of sensation, large blisters, and a patch red and white appearance indicating a loss of blood vessels.
- Full thickness burns completely burn away all the layers of skin, resulting in a dry, leathery surface that lacks sensation. These types of burns penetrate deeply, sometimes affecting muscle and bone in addition to skin.
Burns are an acute condition. The treatment for minor burns tends to focus on relieving the pain, protecting the burn, and minimizing the chance of infection and scarring. Other important factors to consider in treatment include; management of underlying issues like hyperglycemia, removing dead tissue when necessary (debridement) and limiting pressure at the wound site.  For severe burns always seek medical care.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
- Home Care strategies include:
- Hydrotherapy is a wonderful first step for superficial burns. Cool running water and cool compresses applied to the burn will decrease the pain and minimize the damage to the surrounding tissues.
- Aloe gel from a plant or prepared gel/juice is an easy and effective home treatment that has two actions: acts as an antiseptic to reduce the risk of infection and acts to ease the pain and burning.
- If blisters are present, clean bandages may be helpful in preventing infection.
- Ensure that you rehydrate by drinking adequate amounts of water.
- Use on chemical-free personal care products to prevent the risk of further skin damage or blistering.
- Avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum (like Vaseline)
- Use chemical-free moisturizers to replenish the moisture of the skin
- Choose loose fitting clothing
- Choose natural fabrics that allow the skin to breathe.
- Call a health care provider immediately if you have a fever with sunburn or if there are any signs of shock, heat exhaustion, dehydration or other serious reaction. Symptoms that require immediate attention include:
- feeling faint or dizzy
- rapid pulse or rapid breathing
- extreme thirst, no urine output, or sunken eyes
- pale, clammy or cool skin
- nausea, fever, chills or rash
- eye pain or increased sensitivity to light
- severe, painful blisters
Lifestyle recommendations include:
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies that support burns include:
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Botanical remedies such as Aloe (Aloe vera), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Marshmallow root.,  Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a great remedy for superficial burns, sunburns and can also be used for scars from previous burns. Apply externally as gel, diluted tincture in water or as a spray. 
- External tinctures of Cantharis, and Urtica urens, Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) can also be used. Always consult your Naturopathic Doctor before considering a tincture internally as some herbs are only safe as homeopathic remedies or as external applications. 
- If bandages or compresses have adhered to a burn they can be gently removed by dampening with Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and Yarrow (Achileea millefolium) tea.
- Cool compress made as infusion of equal parts; Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) flowers, Peppermint (Mentha piperita), and Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) leaf.
- Homeopathic remedies such as Apis, Arsenicum album, Calendula, Cantharis, Causticum, Hypericum, Rhus tox, Urtica urens. , 
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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