How to Treat a Burn From Boiling Water

Have you ever accidentally spilled boiling water on your skin?

The searing pain is instant and can leave lasting damage.

Burns from boiling water are a common household injury, but knowing how to properly treat them can make a world of difference in the healing process.

In this article, we will explore effective ways to heal a scald and minimize long-term harm.

Immediate First Aid

Being burned by scalding water can be an extremely painful and traumatic experience.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a scald, it’s important to act quickly and calmly to prevent further injury and promote healing.

The first step in treating a burn from boiling water is to move away from the source of heat and begin immediate first aid.

This comprehensive guide covers what to do when someone sustains a scald, including but not limited to, cooling the affected area with running water, removing any clothing or jewelry around the burn site, and covering the burn to prevent infection.

Cooling the burn with cool or lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes can reduce the severity of the burn and stop any further damage.

It’s important to avoid using ice or any other extreme temperatures on the burn, as that could cause further damage and injury.

Removing any constricting items like jewelry or clothing around the burn site can help prevent more tissue damage and allow the wound to breathe.

And finally, covering the burn with a sterile bandage or gauze can protect it from further physical damage and infection.

With these immediate first aid steps, you can start the process of healing the scald and giving the affected person the best chance of a full and speedy recovery.

Treating the Burn

If you’ve accidentally scalded yourself with boiling water, it’s essential to treat the burn promptly to ease your discomfort and prevent the wound from becoming worse.

Begin by holding the affected body part under cool running water for ten to fifteen minutes.

This will lower the skin’s surface temperature and help to minimize the inflammation.

Apply a sterile bandage or non-stick dressing over the wound to reduce the risk of contamination until it heals.

Aloe Vera gel or an antibiotic cream can help soothe the burn and promote faster healing.

Avoid the temptation to burst any blisters that form on the skin; these are natural barriers to infection.

Conversely, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, warmth, or pus, seek urgent medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading.

Painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide relief if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort.

Be especially careful when treating burns suffered by young children or the elderly, as their skin is more delicate and susceptible to infection.

If a burn covers more than ten percent of your body or is located on the face, neck, hands, or groin, seek emergency medical assistance as quickly as possible.


Scalds are one of the most common household injuries, especially in the kitchen.

The best way to prevent scalds is to be aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid them.

When working with hot liquids, be sure to use protective gear such as oven mitts or gloves, and avoid wearing loose clothing that may catch fire.

Always keep hot liquids out of reach of children, and never leave pots or pans unattended on the stove.

When storing dangerous liquids such as bleach or cleaning supplies, be sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets, and store them in a secure location away from combustible materials.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk of scalds and keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm.


Scalds from boiling water can be a painful and potentially serious injury, so it’s important to know the best ways to both treat and prevent them.

The first step in treating a scald burn is to immediately remove the affected area from the source of heat and run cool (not cold) water over the burned area for at least ten minutes.

This will help to reduce swelling and pain and limit any further damage.

After this, the burn should be covered with a sterile bandage or a clean, dry cloth to prevent infection and provide protection from further injury.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.

In cases where the burn is severe or covers a large area of the body, medical attention should be sought immediately.

To prevent scalds from happening in the first place, it’s important to take some simple precautions in the kitchen and around the home.

Whenever possible, use caution when handling hot liquids and make sure to double-check the temperature of the liquid before pouring or serving.

Young children should never be left unsupervised around hot liquids or appliances, and any pots or pans on the stove should be turned so that their handles cannot be easily reached by children.

To further limit the risk of scalds in the home, consider installing anti-scald devices on showerheads and faucets.

In summary, treating and preventing scalds from boiling water requires a combination of quick thinking, proper treatment, and caution.

Knowing the steps to take in the event of a scald burn can help to reduce pain and potential complications.

And by taking steps to prevent scalds from happening in the first place, we can minimize the risk of injury and stay safe in the kitchen and beyond.


What should I do immediately after getting burned by boiling water?

The first step to take immediately after getting burned by boiling water is to hold the affected area under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. This will help to soothe the pain and reduce the severity of the burn. Do not apply ice, butter, or any other ointment to the burn as it can make the injury worse. Remove any clothing or jewelry near the burn area to prevent constriction and swelling. Seek medical attention if the burn is severe or covers a large area of the body.

Does the severity of a burn depend on the temperature of the water?

Yes, the severity of a burn can depend on the temperature of the water. Burns from boiling water are generally more severe than those from cooler temperatures because boiling water can cause deep tissue damage and may even require medical attention. However, the severity of the burn also depends on how long the skin was in contact with the water, how much skin was affected, and how quickly the burn is treated.

Should I pop any blisters that form after a burn?

No, do not pop any blisters that form after a burn. Blisters help protect the skin underneath and reduce the risk of infection. Popping them can lead to further damage and increase the risk of infection.

How can I tell if a burn is infected?

Signs of infection in a burn include increasing pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and drainage of pus. If you suspect that your burn is infected, seek medical attention immediately.

When should I seek medical attention for a burn?

You should seek medical attention for a burn if it is larger than three inches in diameter, appears charred or white, is on the face, hands, feet, or groin, or if it covers a joint or a large area of your body. Additionally, seek medical help if the burn causes difficulty breathing, chest pain, or fainting. Any burn that is deeper than the second layer of skin should be evaluated by a medical professional.

What over-the-counter medications can I use to treat a burn?

You can use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. In addition, topical creams containing lidocaine, benzocaine, or pramoxine can also provide relief to the affected area.

How long does it take for a burn from boiling water to heal?

The time it takes for a burn from boiling water to heal can vary depending on the severity of the burn. Minor burns can take a few days or up to a week to heal, while more severe burns can take months to fully heal and may leave permanent scarring.

Are there any home remedies that can help with the pain and healing process?

Yes, there are a few home remedies that can help alleviate the pain and speed up the healing process. Applying a cool, damp cloth to the burn can provide relief from the pain. Aloe vera gel can also be a soothing remedy, as it promotes healing and moisturizes the skin. Honey is another effective remedy that can help heal burns due to its antibacterial properties. However, it’s important to note that for severe burns, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately.

Can I continue to do daily activities after getting burned?

It depends on the severity of the burn. For mild burns, you should be able to continue with your daily activities. However, for more severe burns, it is recommended to rest and avoid any activities that may irritate or worsen the burn. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for the best course of treatment and healing.

What are the potential long-term effects of a severe burn?

Severe burns can lead to long-term physical effects such as scarring, tissue and joint contractures, nerve damage, and disfigurement. They can also cause emotional and psychological trauma, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Is it possible to prevent burns from boiling water?

Yes, burns from boiling water can be prevented by taking precautionary measures such as using pot holders or oven mitts to handle hot pots and pans, keeping a safe distance from boiling water, and using caution while cooking or pouring hot liquids.