Whether you like spending time in there or not, everyone seems to be in the kitchen these days. Some of us are thriving, using this time at home to make all of the recipes we’ve been saving, like sourdough bread or tahini-chocolate-chip cookies. Others are cooking for the first time, attempting to piece together some semblance of sustenance and resisting the urge to order takeout three times a day. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, you’re not immune to having a little accident. Maybe your hand slipped while pulling something out of the oven or you were never taught to properly chop. The resulting burns, cuts, bruises, and bumps can be alarming, but many can be treated at home without a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office. (Though it’s also important to know when your mishap does rise to the level of seeking professional medical advice, especially in these times.) Below, some common kitchen injuries you might get while trying to cook three square meals a day, every single day, and how you can fix them without leaving the house.
If you burned yourself on the oven
There are so many ways to burn yourself in the kitchen — on a still-hot stove or oven, with hot oil, even from a too hot microwaved bowl. If it’s a first-degree burn, meaning it only affects the top layer of skin, you should run the affected area under cool water — not cold water or ice — for 20 minutes. “Active cooling of the burn can help reduce the burn depth and improve healing,” says Natasha Bhuyan, a family practitioner and regional medical director for One Medical. To help with pain relief, she recommends using an aloe-vera cream. For protection once the burn is feeling a little less raw, Brendan Levy, the executive medical director of GoodRx, recommends applying Vaseline or Neosporin a few times a day with a Band-Aid, to protect the wound, keep it moisturized, and help it heal.
If the burn is a second-degree burn, meaning it affected the top two layers of skin, you might develop a blister. Both of the experts we spoke with said that no matter how tempting it can be, you shouldn’t pop the blister. Instead, Bhuyan says to wrap it in sterile gauze. “It should be wrapped loosely to keep air off the area, but should not stick firmly to the skin,” she explains. The pain from this type of burn might require something a little stronger than aloe, like an over-the-counter pain reliever, either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. To prevent infection, she recommends applying Neosporin, or contacting your doctor about silver sulfadiazine or mafenide acetate, which are also antibacterial agents to help prevent infection. For burns that you suspect go deeper, or if you lose feeling in the area where you were burned, seek professional help.