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Soothing Bad Burns

These contact and steam burns, like any other burns, are painful and require immediate treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first thing to do is to run cold water over the burn for at least 15 minutes. If you can't completely submerge the area, apply cold, wet cloths to the scalded area. This flushing of the burn must supersede anything else you do, no matter how bad the wound appears.

Next, cover the burn with a piece of clean, cotton material. If you don't have any available, leave the scalded area open. Don't scrub it, wash it, ice it, or put on any ointment or salve. Any of these things can interfere with proper healing.

You're now faced with assessing its severity. Minor burns affect only the top layer of skin. The area will be red, tender and sore. Though painful, these burns usually heal in about six days.

Anything worse than a minor burn -- the pain is even more intense and the skin charred and blistered -- requires professional medical attention.