Minor Burns or Skin Irritations

female hand with second degree burns

The skin is the body’s largest organ and is made of many layers. It is sensitive to both internal and external irritants and may become inflamed, infected, or injured when exposed to certain substances or extreme heat. Millions of Americans develop rashes, skin infections, and burns every year – many prompting visits to urgent care providers. Treatments are available to remedy these conditions and restore the skin to a healthy condition.

Did you know…

urgent care centers treat many types of conditions. Rashes, for example, are very common among patients of all ages and may appear on any area of the body for a number of reasons. The skin may also become irritated due to exposure to external substances, such as harsh chemicals or certain plants. Skin infections, on the other hand, are identified by isolated areas of the skin that are inflamed, hot, and tender to the touch. Burns are also common, resulting from exposure to hot water, the sun, fire, steam, or hot objects. Some patients may present with electrical burns or chemical burns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I visit an urgent care facility if I have a burn or other skin irritation?

Some skin reactions and minor burns are treatable at home. However, there are certain circumstances that warrant a visit to an urgent care center.

  • Signs of Infection (Cellulitis) – Seek medical attention for any signs of skin infection, which include tenderness, skin warmth, swelling, redness, and fever. Left untreated, skin infections can rapidly spread to other parts of the body.
  • Burns – Seek professional care for those that penetrate beyond the superficial layers of the skin or that exceed 3 inches in diameter. You should also see a doctor for any burn that affects a young child or senior adult over age 70.
  • Rashes/Irritations – Seek medical attention for any rash or irritation that occurs in young children or the elderly. Contact dermatitis caused by contact with an external substance may produce a rash that can be cared for at home. However, you should see a doctor for any new rash that you cannot explain. You should also visit an urgent care center for skin irritations accompanied by joint pain, fever, swelling, or tenderness. Call 9-1-1 for any skin inflammation accompanied by shortness of breath, a swollen face, or a tight throat.

How will the doctor treat a burn?

Burns are first graded according to their depth of penetration. Some minor burns will heal by simply keeping the skin moisturized. Burns that are more serious may need to be cleaned and dressed with an antibiotic ointment. The burn will need to be regularly re-dressed and checked for signs of infection.

How will the doctor treat a skin irritation, such as a rash or infection?

Skin irritations may be caused by a number of sources, each of which requires a different type of treatment. Infections are common and generally require a course of topical or oral antibiotics. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be prescribed a medicated cream, lotion, or oral medication to help clear up your skin condition.