ZocdocAnswers Steam burn on palm of hand - doesn't hurt just tiny blisters everywhere. What should I do?

Question

Steam burn on palm of hand - doesn't hurt just tiny blisters everywhere. What should I do?

about half a year ago I had a steam burn from holding a hot pot too long and it's on my palm, and tiny bit on the wrist. It never hurt (even though i didn't even notice the blisters until a few weeks). The only problem is the blisters keep coming back and going away off and on. I've tried letting them heal for a little, I've tried draining it with a needle, not sure what to do to keep them from coming back.

Answer

Burns, like the one you are describing, are very common. However, a burn that has not healed within 6 months is unusual and could be serious. You should see a burn specialist to have your wound examined and to discuss why it has not healed over these months. When you see a doctor, you can review the following information. The burn that you are describing, with blisters, is at least a second degree burn and could be a third degree burn. Steam burns can be serious. A first degree burn is simply red skin, like a sun burn. A burn that penetrates partially through the dermis is a second degree burn, and these can heal on their own, but occasionally will need skin grafting. A burn that goes all of the way through the dermis is a third degree burn, and these often need skin grafting to heal. Third degree burns often are not painful because all of the nerves in the skin have been injured by the burn. If your burn was not painful, it is possible it is a very deep burn. If a burn is going to heal on its own, it usually does so within a month at the most. If your burn has not healed in 6 months, it may be an indication that it needs a procedure called excision and skin grafting to help it heal. This procedure would be performed by a plastic surgeon or general surgeon specializing in burn surgery. You should go to a burn clinic to have your would evaluated and determine if you need a procedure. A non-healing would can also be a sign of an infection that could need antibiotics. Signs of infection would redness around the wound or yellow/pus-like drainage from the area. Recurrent blisters could also be a sign of a viral infection. It is not wise to use a needle to drain the blisters, as you could infect the space under the skin and actually cause an infection by doing this. It is not possible to determine why your burn is not healing without your seeing a doctor. Until you see the doctor, you should keep the wound clean by washing it daily with warm water, and applying bacitracin and a dry-sterile dressing. As a non-healing wound can be serious, please make an appointment to see a burn or plastic surgeon in the near future.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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