What to do when you burn the $%&! out of yourself

March 1st, 2009 by katie

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am skeptical by nature.  So when a friend of mrChaos first told me that I should put onions on a burn, I told him he was full of it.  He claimed putting a cold sliced onion on a burn would take away the pain, prevent blisters, and heal it faster.  “Of course,” I said,”cold onions, duh.  I’ll just use cold water thank you very much.”   And so it went, he would claim that if I would just use an onion I wouldn’t have so many blisters and scars (I’m a little clumsy in the kitchen) and I would tell him to stuff it and stop talking voodoo in front of my kids-until the night I made cornbread in my huge cast iron skillet.  The cornbread was baking at 450°F for about 20 minutes when I reached in the oven and grabbed the handle of the skillet with a pot holder.  Apparently, I didn’t cover my whole hand because I felt the heat immediately as the handle pressed into my hand.  I jerked away and ran to the sink, taking only a second to see the seared imprint of the skillet handle on my palm before I plunged in into the stream of cold water.

After keeping the cold water running over my hand for about 10 minutes, I was miserable.  It hurt like crazy in the water and I knew how bad it was going to hurt when I had to finally turn the water off.  mrChaos found half of an onion in the fridge and offered it to me simply to have something cold to hold in my hand so I could turn off the water and move around the house.  I took it but my hand hurt so bad that I quickly traded it in for an icepack wrapped in a kitchen towel.  It still hurt and just knowing how bad the blister was going to be-on my right hand!-was grossing me out.  So in walks the friend, who immediately begins insisting that we need to put a fresh chopped onion on the burn-not a cold onion, not a previously chopped onion, a fresh chopped one.  We have a basket of onions and garlic on the kitchen counter at all times; mrChaos grabbed a big one, whacked it in half with the chef’s knife, and handed me one juicy side.  I figured I could at least try it and when it didn’t work I could put my ice pack back on, it couldn’t get worse at this point.

Holy cow but it worked!  The pain went away immediately.  Anytime it started to burn a little I would squeeze out a little more fresh onion juice and it immediately felt better.  After about 30 minutes I was able to take the onion away completely without the burn hurting.  Not only that but the skin over the blister was thicker and more sturdy that any burn blister I had ever had before.  In fact, now two weeks later there is almost no trace I even had a burn.  The blister never broke no matter how I abused it (remember it was in the palm of my right hand), and I was able to wash hot dishes and take a hot shower the next day without any discomfort.  I don’t know why it works but it must have something to do with the fresh onion juice.  Of course for a serious burn, where the skin is broken, I would go to the emergency room but for your general kitchen burns it is an incredible solution.  Try it next time and see if it works for you.

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Posted in Health/Nutrition, Me, Tips and Tricks

19 Responses

  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    Thanks for that tip Katie. I am forever burning myself. My hands are full of burn scars. Next time I till try this trick, cause I know there will be a next time for sure.

  2. tami lyn

    I’m so glad you didn’t have to visit the ER! I will definately put this on the inside of my cabinet door as a reminder. I always used ice and then bacatracin. Of course, I burn myself more at work and I can’t have an onion there :(

  3. Lydia

    I have never tested it side by side with the raw onion trick (which I will remember, especially now with budding cooks in the kitchen!) but my step mother used to smear toothpaste on the burn; again I’m not sure if it’s something in the toothpaste or perhaps just the mintiness that helps cool the burn. Also, pure, raw honey is valued as an antibiotic and anti-inflamatory, especially for blisters that break. Probably a good idea to dilute the honey with water first so that the stickiness doesn’t cause more damage to the blisters.

  4. noble pig

    That’s great advice. I’m sorry you burned your hand, I hope you are doing better.

  5. Cheryl

    Never, ever, ever heard of this, but I burn myself constantly and will try it next time.

    I have those silicone grip-style pot holders that I really need to chuck, because every time I reach into the oven (EVERY TIME) I end up burning the tops of my knuckles on the oven rack. Maybe I’ll tape onions to my knuckles next time to streamline the whole process.

  6. Melissa

    I will definitely try this sometime and thank you for the info. I have to admit being hooked on the E capsules for burns. I just crack one open and rub the inner gel all over the burn and it doesn’t blister or scar. But it doesn’t always alleviate the pain right away, so perhaps an onion will work better.

  7. marguerite

    That’s a cool tip!!!

    Also I have an award for you! You can pick it up here.
    http://sprytesplace.blogspot.com/2009/03/stuffed-french-toast-awards-thank-you.html

  8. krysta

    i’m going to need to try this next time. i’m always getting burned. i wonder why it works?

  9. cheryl

    Thought you’d like this: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,856033,00.html

  10. RecipeGirl

    Oh goodness- you need to be careful!! Hope it’s feeling a bit better. Good to know about the onion. I’ve been there!

  11. Callahan Welsh

    IT F!@#$%* WORKS!

  12. jess

    I once scalded my chest and neck with a coffeepot full of very hot water at work and one of my customers had the presence of mind to grab a towel and a bottle of vinegar. He soaked the cloth and when I put it onto my skin the relief was immediate. I never got a scar or blisters, for that matter. I’m glad to know the onion trick for smaller burns, though I keep an aloe plant in the kitchen for the same reason.

  13. Mark

    THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just burned myself. Tears. It’s working. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

  14. Turner Xei

    It’s worth mentioning that back when I had surgery, they gave me this ointment to put on the healing wound that was clearly labeled as being mostly onion extract.

    I can’t remember what it was called unfortunately.

  15. Sarah

    Thank you so much. This really works!

  16. sue

    here i sit in the den with an onion on my left hand due to a hot frying pan handle directly out of the oven with cornbread!!! go figure! OUCH bet i’ll be the best smellin’ cook at the funeral where i’m going next. moral to story: KEEP FRESH ONIONS ON HAND (literaly)AT ALL TIMES

  17. Tracy

    I’m clumsy in the kitchen, so I know this will come in handy! Also, my sister recommended vanilla extract on burns. I tried it and it was AMAZING, but it was a smaller burn on my finger, I haven’t tried on a big burn yet, but just in case you are out of onion. And thank you so much for your homemade recipes, I find that I’m allergic to a lot of things in processed foods so being able to make rice a roni from home is such a victory, thanks so much for sharing!

  18. katie marie

    my husband burned his finger and we looked up how to stop the burning. He is freaking out because it instantly went away. Who knew?!? An onion!! This should be taught to us as kids in kindergarten!!!

  19. Motahara

    omg people this works this really works u must try it. i was miserable for the last hour i burned my thumb so bad n now i feel great even though i am typing with one hand because in my other hand is an onion!!!!!!!!!!!! thank u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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