How to Treat Minor Burns and Scalds in Children

Many small burns or scalds are caused by intense heat, such as touching a hot pan, fire, hot liquid, electric current or stay­ing too long in the sun (see under Sunburn). A minor burn will affect only the outer layer of the skin, causing it to red­den and possibly blister. The damaged skin may peel off in a day or two. Only if you are sure that the burn or scald is minor should you treat it at home. If in any doubt, consult your doctor.

What you can do

Put the burn under cold running water, or gently apply a cold compress such as a soaked clean tea towel, for ten to fifteen minutes. Remove any restricting clothing or jewellery, being careful of the affected area. Cover the burns with a sterile dressing to keep it clean. Don’t use adhesive plasters or apply butter as these may only make the condition worse and don’t try to puncture the blister as this contains protective plasma. Give a pain-relieving remedy.



A number of remedies may be recommended by a homoeopath, such as Cantharis, which works well for relieving pain and blistering, while Aconite will help the shock. If the burn begins to weep afterwards, Hep. sulph. may help, while Urtica Urens can also help minor burns which have blistered.

Bach Flower Remedies

For the immediate shock, give Rescue Remedy or Star of Bethlehem. These can be taken by adding two drops of either to a glass of water, to be sipped through­out the day, or added to the water used in a cold compress. Aromatherapy Mix a couple of drops of Lavender with Aloe Vera gel and apply to cool and soothe the area. Herbal medicine A herbalist may recommend immediately applying Aloe Vera gel to cool and soothe the area. Then directly applying chopped-up Calendula flowers held in place with gauze may help. Calendula has antiseptic properties and can help the body to fight against infection. Elderflower, given in tea, will also help to relax and calm the child if they have been frightened by the burn as well as soothing the area.


A large proportion of the 1000 or so people admitted to hos­pital each year with burns or scalds are children who have had accidents in the home. More serious burns may be caused by touching, inhaling or drinking a chemical such as bleach or touching an electric current and will need immediate medical treatment, as deeper injuries can cause loss of body fluids from the affected area leading to lowered blood pressure, rapid pulse and shock. Emergency intravenous fluids may be nec­essary and drugs to prevent the infection.


Chickenpox is a common and generally mild infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus which is characterized by the appearance of spots and mild fever. It is passed on through air­borne droplets and has an incubation period of between two and three weeks. The spots will form a rash, appearing in crops covering the trunk, arms, legs and face and can some­times appear inside the mouth. The itchy spots turn into blis­ters which then dry out, leaving scabs. Once your child has had chickenpox, they are immune for life.

What you can do

Plenty of rest is the best treatment while your child has chick­enpox. It is best to keep them away from other children for a couple of days from about a week after the spots appear, as this is when they are most contagious. To help prevent scratching, which can lead to scarring, apply soothing Calamine lotion. Look out for signs of infection if your child can’t stop scratching and contact your doctor if you have any doubts.



An osteopath may use cranial work to help boost the immune system by decreasing mechanical strains and so enabling the release of more energy to fight off disease. This will also allow a better fluid interchange between tissues, for instance the blood and lymph.


Acupuncture can be of most value if given before the spots actually appear, in the first week or so after catching the disease, if possible. Chickenpox is seen as an accumulation of’damp heat’ trapped in the body, which erupts on the skin’s surface in the form of pustules which seep pus and are itchy. An acupuncturist will treat the child to remove the heat from the surface and disperse the damp. The earlier treatment is given, the less likelihood there is of intense itchiness which can lead to scarring.


An aromatherapist may recommend adding a few drops of oil, such as Lavender, Lemon and Geranium, to the child’s bath to help relieve itching and to help prevent infection if they can’t stop scratching. Lavender not only works as an antiseptic, but also helps skin tissue to regenerate. Lemon has properties which help to fight off infection and Geranium has astringent and anti-inflammatory qualities to help calm the skin.


Consult your doctor if there are signs that the spots have become infected, such as swelling, or if they haven’t healed over. If, after about ten days, your child has fever, headaches and becomes clumsy – losing their balance – consult your doctor immediately as this may be a sign of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

Other therapies that may be beneficial: homoeopathy, natur­opathy.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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