Burns on the face can cause serious complications and require special treatment, report doctors at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Like the hands, genitals and feet, the skin on the face is exceptionally sensitive and constantly exposed to the elements. Proper treatment of these body parts that are exposed and used every day plays an important role in the patient's recovery process.
Immediate treatment of facial burns can help to reduce the severity of the burns. Prompt attention to the burn, even before trained medical personnel arrive, can help to prevent permanent scarring and deformity. All burns on the face should be taken very seriously and immediately covered with a cloth soaked in cool water.
If a person inhales an inordinate amount of smoke because of burns on the face, those at the scene should check for a pulse and begin to deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation if the person is not breathing. After applying cool compresses and if help still not has arrived, rescuers should elevate the head of the burn victim while waiting for help to keep additional blood from rushing to the face. The burned person should be kept awake and talking to prevent the victim from going into shock.
There are many myths and old wives' tales that must be avoided when treating a person with burns on the face, report doctors at the NIH. Ointment, butter, ice or any other household oils should never be put on a face burn. No one should blow on the burn to try to cool it off or apply ice, nor should the face be immersed in water. Nothing should be given by mouth to the patient.
Burns do not always require immediate emergency treatment and may not begin to show signs of a more severe injury for a number of hours. One of the most visible signs of a severe burn is a blister, which often takes up to 48 hours to form. The burned skin becomes a bump that is filled with fluid and usually is tender to the touch. Blisters should not be popped, but treated by a doctor.
The face has a great capacity for healing because of the number of blood vessels that flow to the area, report doctors at the Ohio State University Medical Center. The potential for a complete recovery without scarring is good if proper care is taken to maintain a clean, infection-free skin surface. Swelling should dissipate within 48 hours, when patients can begin gentle cleansing three times a day, followed by treatment with sulfamylon ointment. After washing, patients should inspect the burns for signs of potential infection, which include a bad odor, pus drainage, fever or additional redness around the burn.