Q. You have written several times about putting yellow mustard on a burn for relief. Thank goodness I have known about this emergency approach for more than 30 years.
About eight years ago, when my twin girls were three years old, I was cooking myself a cup of noodles in the microwave. I had set it on the kitchen counter and one of my twins picked the cup off the counter and tipped it up as if to drink it like juice. She spilled boiling hot noodles and liquid all over her front.
I immediately took off her shirt, grabbed the mustard out of the fridge and applied it heavily to her chin, neck and face. I covered the burn with paper towel. In the morning I was surprised that there was no blistering or redness. Just a tiny speck of redness remained.

A. We continue to be amazed by reports that cold yellow mustard eases the pain and redness of kitchen burns. We do usually suggest immediate application of cold water (not ice), but cold mustard from the fridge may have the same effect of stopping further heat damage to the exposed tissue.
Other readers say that soy sauce also helps. A severe burn always requires immediate medical attention.
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“Heartburn Symptoms Eased by Apple Cider Vinegar”
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  1. SM
    Reply

    OMG I still can’t believe it!!!! I burnt the top of my pointer finger with hot tomato sauce, a quarter in size. I put my finger under water immediately but as soon as I took it out, the burning was the worse pain I’ve ever had. I still had the pain hours later and I could see my finger turning bright red and a blister was already forming. I got on line to find something I could do for the pain when I came across this site about the yellow mustard. I was willing to try anything, I put the mustard on the burn and covered it with gauze and went to bed. The pain stopped instantly and when I woke up in the morning my finger was fine, no pain, no blister. My finger was a bit yellow! LOL but except for a darker skin color on the burn spot, my finger is just fine. I plan on keeping a packet of yellow mustard in my first aid kit now because it really works!!!

  2. Katelyn
    Reply

    I’ve had good results using yellow mustard, but I prefer to use soy sauce for a burn. I’m always burning my hands, arms, or fingers while cooking, and am yet to find any OTC or prescription cream or ointment that comes anywhere close to the awesome results I get from soy sauce. After being covered with soy sauce for as little as 15 minutes, there is no pain, redness, shiny skin, or discomfort– even when running the affected spot under warm-to-hot water.
    I also burn the inside of my mouth embarrassingly often, and have found that soaking a small gauze square in soy sauce and holding it against the burnt spot with my tongue for as long as I can stand the taste, prevents the burn from blistering and quickly relieves the pain. The only down side is that both soy sauce ‘stains’ the skin, although the discoloration goes away within a couple of days.
    As mom to a 7, 5, and 2 year old, my kids sometimes burn fingers on hot playground equipment or by touching a hot vehicle as we’re walking through the parking lot. I’ve started keeping condiment packets of mustard and soy sauce (from take out meals or fast food restaurants) in our first aid kits, including the mini kit I keep in my purse.
    After pouring bottled water on it or running it under cool water in a restroom sink or water fountain, squeezing some mustard onto the pad of a bandaid or soaking the pad with soy sauce and using it to cover the burn is convenient and keeps the mess to a minimum.
    Most importantly, it stops the spot from hurting my kiddo with no side effects or medications, and it’s safe for my youngest (who chews on everything!) to get in her mouth.

  3. Helen E.
    Reply

    I have never heard of vicks for toe nail fungus. I was surprised and certainly try it for my problems.
    Thanks.

  4. Blark
    Reply

    About a year ago, using a hot pad, I took a sauce pan out of a 450 degree oven, set it on the counter and promptly forgot that it had come out of a very hot oven. A few minutes later, I turned back around and grabbed the handle with my bare hand. My hand was severely burned. Blisters quickly formed down my fingers and all across my palm. I wrapped my hand in wet, iced towels and went on to eat dinner.
    The pain was pretty severe, so my husband asked if I wanted to go to the emergency room. However, remembering your column, I asked if he would go to the store for mustard. When I squirted it on my hand, the pain almost disappeared. I slathered my hand in mustard and wrapped it in gauze for the night. In the morning, there were no blisters or pain; the skin felt a little tight and leathery, but you could not tell I had ever been burned. In about a week or so, the blisters sloughed off, and there were no scars. I keep 2-3 large bottles of plain yellow mustard in the house at all times.
    Thank you for posting this anecdotal evidence; it has been a great benefit (I also used Vick’s to cure a toe nail fungus several years ago). There is much we do not know about our bodies and natural remedies. I would hate to think that everything we tried had to be clinically tested and approved by the FDA.

  5. polsby
    Reply

    Wondering if cold mustard could be used on cancer radiation burns? There must be someone out there who has discovered what to put on the chests of the women undergoing radiation. The burns are deep. Thoughts?

  6. TS
    Reply

    The best treatment I know of for burns is aloe vera. Many years ago I was visiting a friend and using her iron to press a shirt. The iron was a folding travel type that was not insulated on the top. Not knowing this, while ironing my thumb came in contact with the top of the iron. Wow! A painful burn. My friend went out to the garden and came back with a stalk of aloe, which she then applied to the burn.
    The pain eased, and I thought to myself that when I got home that evening I would have a nice big fat blister on my thumb. We then went about enjoying the rest of the day. When I returned home that evening to my surprise there was no blister or any other indication that I had burned myself on a very hot iron that morning. Since then I always keep an aloe plant growing in my garden.
    PS. I’m not sure if aloe grows everywhere, as I live in the Caribbean Islands.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: It may not grow outside in much of the US, but almost anyone could grow it as a house plant. Easy to grow.

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