Should you put ice on a major burn?

On Behalf of Renick Law Firm, PLLC |
Jul 05, 2022 |

You have probably had at least one skin burn during your lifetime. While painful, burns are alarmingly common in the U.S. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 500,000 Americans require medical treatment for the burns they suffer every single year.

For minor burns, you have probably heard it is advisable to apply cool water. You should not, however, use ice to cool burn minor burn wounds. After all, ice can cause additional tissue damage. For major burns, though, using ice may be a deadly mistake.

Obtain immediate medical treatment

Human skin is more delicate than you may think. If you touch a hot object, you may burn your skin. You also may sustain a burn from certain chemicals, radiation, electricity or the sun.

If you have a second- or third-degree burn, you should treat your injury as a medical emergency. That is, rather than trying to manage your injury, you should let doctors at the emergency room diagnose your burn and propose a treatment strategy.

Watch for signs of shock

A major burn can cause your body to go into shock. Shock happens when a person’s blood pressure drops to unsafe levels. If you apply ice to a major burn, though, you may develop shock even more quickly.

Consequently, you should avoid ice and watch for signs of shock on your way to the hospital. These may include one or more of the following:

  • Rapid pulse, heart rate or breathing
  • Dizziness, confusion or fainting
  • Pale, ashy or clammy skin

Ultimately, if you are suffering from shock, you do not want to waste any time trying to find ice for your major burn.