A close-up of some skin with a red burn patch and an illustration of some fire
If you burn yourself, you may need to go to hospital. It depends on the size of the burn, where it is, and how bad it is.
  • If you think that the burn is not too bad (less than the size of your hand, and just on the top layers of skin) then immediately run cold water over it for 3-5 minutes. It will seem like ages but it really works, by stopping the burning in its tracks.
  • If the burn is on the face or around the mouth – talk to a doctor
  • If there are other injuries as well, or the person seems shocked – talk to doctor
If you’re not sure, call your family doctor, or NHS Direct (0845 4647). Remember: you can get burns from very hot things and very cold things.

Probably the most common reason for burns and scalds is boiling water.