Somehow, this is easy to do. For me, it happened when a burner I’d accidentally turned on heated the handle of the pot that was sitting on the burner I’d meant to turn on. I won’t go into details. Bottom line: I full on grabbed a piping hot metal pan handle and scorched the surface of my palm.
When I looked on the internet for specific solutions to this problem, there were plenty of headlines about grabbing a hot pot handle, but I was taken to generic burn instructions that didn’t necessarily speak to my issue. However, I sifted through them to find some sort of pain relief and strategies to limit blistering. I have compiled this list of relevant and helpful guidelines for addressing this specific problem.
First, take off jewelry. Your hand is going to get puffy and red. It’s going to feel like the worst sunburn you’ve had.
Second, run hand under cold water faucet. Experts say 10-15 minutes (click for link). If you fully grasped the pot/pan handle, you’re going to need more time than this. I felt bad about wasting water, so I put cool water in a bowl and just moved my hand back and forth.
If possible, take an ice pack out of the freezer and let it sit out at room temperature during this time.
Third, stay away from putting stuff on your hand. I tried a few products with aloe in them and then just straight aloe, and each one seemed to intensify the burning. Though internet searches said these would help, anything that covers the burn limits its ability to dissipate heat. Cool water is best.
Fourth, the cooled ice/water pack is helpful for moving about. Ideally, this wouldn’t be an ice pack because very cold temperatures on the skin after a burn can further damage tissue (see link here). When my pack was a bit too icy, I wrapped it in a towel that made it feel the temperature of cool water.
Fifth, if this happens at night, sleep at the edge of the bed with your hand in a bowl of cool water sitting on something below bed height (chair, tiny table, etc.). I tried this two ways, first on my back with my left (burned) hand off the left side of the bed. This is tricky because I had burned my palm and had to turn my arm in an awkward position. The second way worked better for me. I laid on my right side and let my left hand rest in the bowl of water that was on the right side of the bed.
When I woke up the next morning, my pain had subsided and my hand was out of the bowl.
Sixth, if there are no blisters, leave hands bare. While the rest of the day there were still some hot spots (pre-blister) on my hand, they were mostly gone, at least smaller, and healing quickly. If there are blisters, don’t pop them and keep them covered to reduce risk infection (see link here). I didn’t have this issue, but I trust traditional first aid knowledge at this point.
Luckily, our skin is amazing (see here) and can heal quickly when we take care of it. Give it some TLC while its healing, and you’ll be back in business in no time.
Stupidly burned my hand yesterday on a firepit lid and freaked out – HURT SO MUCH! I one-handedly googled and managed to get past the scary photos and advice of medical website and found this place. Easily the best advice for a simple burn was found right here.
What I did:
1 – soaked my hand in cool water for about 45 minutes while watching tv. As soon as you take it out of the water it will scream from pain but after about 10 minutes it began ‘drying out’ and the pain went away.
2 – the tiniest bit of vaseline to keep it ‘lubed’
Here I am about 18 hours later and although the burn is ugly, the pain is mostly gone and I am typing two-handedly. It didn’t blister so I am very lucky
Thank you for the common sense advice!
Kennedy Allen said:
I did exactly what happened to you and this post has been the only thing that’s provided me comfort. truly. Thank you so so so much. I consider myself very strong, but i’ve definitely sobbed more than I ever have in my life over the last 3 hours
Ah, glad I found this site because just grabbed the handle of a hot pan. Makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone but argh, this is annoying and painful! I only had contact for a couple of seconds. The moment I move my hand out of the cool running water the burning pain sets in so I’ll be following the other tips
I feel like there is no visual burn on my palm but there is pain, I wonder if you can have nerve damage with no skin damage. I grabbed a hot Ladle full on
Alton I did the same thing tonight. This post exactly described my experience! The burn feels like an extremely hot pepper!