Second degree burns are more serious than first degree burns, but still do not always require emergency room visits. The classification of second degree burn applies when the skin has been burned through to the second layer of skin. This layer is known as the dermis, and when it is damaged blisters rise up and the skin becomes intensely reddened, with an accompanying splotchy appearance. Sever pain as well as swelling is also present.
As long as this second degree burn only takes up an area of the skin no larger than 3 inches in diameter, this can be treated as a minor burn like a first degree burn. If the burn is on the hands, feet, groin, buttocks or on a major joint or is larger than 3 inches in diameter, emergency medical care is advised.
To treat a minor burn, first cool the burn by running cool (not cold) water over the burned area for 10-15 minutes or until the pain is alleviated. Immersion is also an option, and so is the use of cool compresses. Cooling the burn reduces the swelling by taking the extreme heat away from the skin. Do not use ice.
Bandage the burn with a clean gauze loosely applied so there is no pressure which can cause pain. The gauze prevents air from getting on the burn, reduces the pain, and protects the damaged, blistered skin.
Take a pain killer to relieve the discomfort, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medications. Take care when giving pain-killers to children. Call a doctor for advice.
Do not use ice to cool the burn. Further damage to the skin might ensue. Do not apply ointments or butter to the burn. This can cause an infection in the wounded area.
Do not break blisters. Broken blisters can get infected more easily.