Emergency Department

Garrett Anderson Centre

Telephone: 01473 702035 or 702036

What do I need to know after the burn?

Your child has been treated for a burn or scald. The length of time it will take to heal depends on the extent of the burn, how deep it is and where it is located on the body.
The treatment of burns is aimed at early healing, prevention of infection and reduction of scarring.

Your child is likely to have had a dressing applied to their burn. If it is just redness on the face, a cream or gel may be applied.

More Information

The dressing should not be removed until your child returns for re-dressing.
Try not to let the dressing and bandages get wet or dirty. If they do, return to the hospital for re-dressing.
It is normal for burns to ooze some fluid. However, if there is fluid seeping through the dressing or if the dressing smells, return to the hospital for review and re-dressing.

Do not try to re-dress the burn yourself, because it could become infected and delay healing.

Paracetamol for pain should be needed only for a few days following the injury. If your child has a lot of pain, return to the hospital to have the wound checked.

Dressing changes can be painful. Please give your child a dose of paracetamol 30 minutes before you attend for re-dressing.

The dressing is likely to be changed after 48 hours and then only weekly to allow for healing.

As the burn starts to heal, it may become itchy. Keeping cool and taking a dose of an antihistamine, such as chlorpheniramine, may help.

Good nutrition particularly helps larger burns to heal. A diet high in protein and calories is helpful, as well as having plenty to drink.

For the first 12 months after a burn, the damaged skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight. Please keep the affected area covered or use a total sun block.

After the burn has healed, moisturising the area with an unscented moisturiser, such as E45 cream or vitamin E cream, may help.

The protective barrier function of the skin is damaged when a burn occurs, which can allow serious infection to develop.

Toxic shock or other similar conditions can develop following infection. Your child will need emergency hospital treatment if this develops.

If you notice any of the following, please bring your child back to the Accident and Emergency Department:

  • fever (high temperature)
  • red rash or blistering on the body, face, arms or legs
  • red, cracked lips
  • sore red eves
  • diarrhoea or vomiting
  • confusion.

Your child may have a follow-up appointment arranged with this hospital, your own GP or the regional burns unit, depending on the severity or site of the burn.

This leaflet gives only general information. Please discuss the individual care of your child with the appropriate member of staff. If you have any further worries or concerns please do not hesitate to phone the Accident and Emergency Department on 01206 742847.

To find out how to give us feedback on your visit or healthcare experience, please visit and search for ‘PALS’, or speak to a member of staff on the ward or department you are in.