Burns or scalds

Choose the right healthcare service to get the care you need and to enable the NHS to help the greatest number of people.

GREEN Self-care at home

Minor burns and scalds can be treated at home

Get away from the heat source to stop the burning

Remove any clothing of jewellery that is near the burnt area of skin, including babies’ nappies

Do not move anything that’s stuck to the skin

Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20-30 minutes

Do not use ice, iced water, creams or greasy substances like butter

Make sure the person is warm by using a blanket, for example, but take care not to rub it against the burnt area

After cooling the burn cover it with a layer of cling film; a clean plastic bag can be used for hand burns

Use paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat any pain

Raise the affected area, if possible, to reduce swelling

Keep the burn clean, do not burst blisters

AMBER It is urgent, but not life threatening

Concerned about a burn or scald, but it is not in the RED category


Call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk


Go to an Urgent Treatment Centre at:

  • Mary’s Community Health Campus, Portsmouth
  • Gosport War Memorial Hospital
  • Petersfield Hospital


Contact a GP Practice

RED It is a life-threatening medical emergency

Chemical, acid or electrical burn

Try to remove the chemical, acid or any contaminated clothing

Remove from electrical exposure

Rinse the affected area with as much clean water as possible

Large or deep burn bigger than the injured person’s hand

Follow the self-care at home guidance

Call 999, or go straight to

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham




A burn that has caused white or charred skin of any size

Burns on the face, neck, hands, feet, any joints or genitals

Has breathed in smoke or fumes, and experienced delayed symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat or difficulty breathing

Call 999, or go straight to

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham