How to Treat a Cooking Burn


Nov 3, 2023


If you’re searching for answers on how to treat a cooking burn, then you’re probably looking for fast remedies to help the pain stop. However, it’s important to know when a cooking oil burn can be treated at home and when you may need medical attention.

Cooking oil burns are more common than you think, especially during the holiday season when you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner where you’re whipping up multiple dishes at once. Once a burn occurs, it’s important to understand how to assess the situation to prevent infection and further damage to your skin by determining if simple at-home remedies will suffice or if you need to visit an ER. As a rule of thumb, if the burn covers a two to three-inch area and the affected area is a major body part, then you should seek medical help immediately.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to treat a cooking burn yourself and when to get medical help. Be sure to check out our article on how to prevent kitchen accidents for more helpful tips.

What is the correct treatment for a burn?

Whether you’re looking to know how to treat a burn from a hot pan or other types of common grilling injuries, it’s important to know the three different types of burns and how to identify them so that you can determine the severity of the burn.

  • First-degree burns: The outer layer of the skin looks red. Pain is not serious.
  • Second-degree burns: Stronger pain accompanied by redness, swelling, and blisters affecting deeper layers of the skin.
  • Third-degree burns: Skin will appear charred or white and the pain is severe. Third-degree burns always require immediate medical attention by professionals.

Regardless of what type of burn you’re facing, it is crucial that you know how to stay calm in an emergency. When it comes to burns, you need to think fast, and the only way to do that successfully is to keep a clear mind.

What should I put on a burn?

What is the best thing to put on a cooking burn? Well, it depends. One of the reasons it’s important to understand what degree of burn you have before you try to look into how to treat a cooking burn is that the former will greatly affect the latter. In other words, the severity of the burn is crucial to determining what and what not to put on a burn.

First and second-degree burns

First and second-degree burns (including cooking oil burns) can be treated with aloe vera, burn creams, or antibiotic ointment after running cool water over the area to reduce its temperature. These treatments can provide temporary relief to keep the pain at bay. First and second-degree burns are still painful but typically do not require any outside medical help unless the area covered is more than 2-3 inches. 

For first-degree burns, you can also use household items like honey that have anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients to help aid in the skin’s recovery. Contrary to what you might read on the internet, household items like butter, milk, and oil DO NOT help with burns as they all contain ingredients that can only make the pain worse and can lead to infections.

Third-degree burns

Third-degree burns result in damage to all of the layers of the skin and require immediate medical attention. When treating a third-degree burn you should clean the area quickly and thoroughly first. DO NOT run a severe burn underneath water. After the wound is as clean as you can get, cover the wound with a clean cloth or bandage as you make your way to the emergency room.

How do I heal a burn quickly?

First, be sure to remove any clothing and jewelry that can come into contact with the burn. If the burn seems minor, place the burned area under running cool (not cold) water to prevent swelling. After about 15-20 minutes, clean the burn with soap and water and wrap it in a clean gauze pad or bandage. Covering the burn and avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent infection from a cooking oil burn or any other burn injury.

How long does a burn take to heal?

All burns, including cooking oil burns, take different time intervals to heal, so try not to worry about rushing the process. On average, a minor burn can heal within a few days whereas a more severe burn may take weeks or months to heal completely. Just be sure you’re knowledgeable about how to care for a burn even after seeking medical attention such as applying ointments or taking the right medication to ease the pain as you heal. Your doctor should provide you with a treatment plan to help your recovery process go more smoothly.

When to go to the ER for a burn

If you received a severe cooking oil burn, it’s crucial that you get the treatment you need, when you need it. If you’re still wondering what is the best thing to do for a burn, it’s to seek medical care. If you notice any of the following symptoms, head to the ER as soon as possible:

  • The affected area covers 2-3 inches in diameter on your skin
  • The affected area is on a major body part such as the face, hands, feet, or joints
  • There is pus leaking from the affected area
  • The skin looks charred, white, or missing (likely a third-degree burn)
  • The burn has a bad smell
  • The pain increases over time

Cooking burns can happen outside of the kitchen. For example, burns from a campfire are one of the most common camping injuries, and practicing proper grill safety is one of our top tailgating safety tips. For this reason, it’s important to know where you can get medical care for a burn if you should need it at all times.

Dealing with a cooking burn? Complete Care is here to help!

Knowing how to treat a cooking burn at home can save you some trouble and help prevent infection, but it is never a bad idea to have your burn examined by a professional.

At Complete Care, we have a talented and knowledgeable staff who can assist you with any burn-related injuries or emergencies and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. We have multiple ER locations in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs that can provide clean, fast, and safe 24-hour treatment for your burn injury.

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