Burn Care

When your skin is damaged by a burn, turn to Essentia Health for care that helps you heal and prevents infection. Find care for all types of burns including chemical burns, electrical burns, sunburns, and thermal (heat) burns, including frostbite.

Burn care is provided across Essentia Health by primary care providers and emergency room physicians. In Duluth, Minnesota, Essentia offers advanced burn care at the Burn Intensive Care Unit in the Miller-Dwan Building.

Types of Burns

Burns are classified into four levels of severity:

  • First-degree burns – Hurt only the outer layer of skin; cause redness
  • Second-degree burns – Affect multiple layers of skin; cause blisters and visible thickening of the skin
  • Third-degree burns – Hurt all layers of skin; cause thickening and a white, leathery appearance
  • Fourth-degree burns – Damage skin and tendons and bones beneath the skin

When To Get Help for a Burn

Call 911 or get care at your local emergency department if a burn:

  • Affects your face, hands, or feet; a joint; or another sensitive area
  • Harms inner layers of skin
  • Makes breathing difficult or painful
  • Is caused by chemicals or electricity
  • Causes severe or increasing pain
  • Is white or black in color

It can take 24 to 48 hours to determine the full depth and impact of a burn.

Home First Aid for Burns

Minor burns that are smaller than three inches can often be treated at home. To soothe pain, redness, and swelling:

  • Gently remove tight clothing or other items from the area
  • Hold the area under cool, running water for 10 minutes
  • Use moisturizer, such as aloe vera lotion
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever

Don’t put ice directly on your skin. Don’t break blisters. If blisters break on their own, clean the area with soap and water and use an antibiotic cream.

When to Call Your Doctor

After a burn, call your doctor if you:

  • Develop large blisters
  • Notice oozing from the wound
  • Have increased pain, redness, or swelling

If you need a specialist’s care to help your burn injury heal, your doctor may refer you to a wound clinic in your community.

Burn ICU in Duluth, Minnesota

If you or a loved one experiences a severe burn, get 24/7 care from a highly skilled team at the Burn Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Essentia Health-Duluth (Miller-Dwan Building). You’ll benefit from experts who use advanced treatments to:

  • Save healthy tissue
  • Prevent infection
  • Reduce scarring
  • Manage pain

Multidisciplinary Burn Care

Your Burn ICU team is led by a board-certified plastic surgeon. It may also include:

Your care team will meet with you and your loved ones daily to answer questions and give updates.

Burn Rehabilitation

Your burn care team will continue to support you while you access rehabilitation services in the same building that holds the Burn ICU. Trust that you’ll get superior care because the rehabilitation department meets high standards set by CARF International.

Get Help

If you or a loved one has a severe burn, call 911 or visit your local emergency department right away.