It is essential to apply appropriate First Aid to any burn or scald as soon as possible. You can care for minor burns at home with simple First Aid. Most minor burns will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your symptoms and promote healing.
Common Home Injuries are burns and scalds. A burn is caused by dry heat. This can be caused by an iron or fire. A scald is caused by something wet, such as hot water or steam.
Burns are classified according to the extent of damage to the skin into 3 categories:
- First-Degree Burn
This minor burn affects only the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Sunburn is a classic example. First-degree burns usually heal within three to six days and are mostly treated with home care.
Signs of a first-degree burn include; Redness, minor inflammation (swelling), pain and dry, peeling skin (occurs as the burn heals)
- Second-degree burn.
These burns affect both the epidermis and the second layer of skin (dermis).This type of extensive damage causes the skin to blister and become extremely red and sore. Some blisters pop open, giving the burn a wet appearance. Deep second-degree burns can cause scarring.
- Third-degree burn.
Burns that reach into the fat layer beneath the dermis are called third-degree burns. The skin may appear stiff, waxy white, leathery or tan. Third-degree burns can destroy nerves, causing numbness.
- Fourth-degree burn.
The most severe form of burn affects structures well beyond the skin, such as muscle and bones. The skin may appear blackened or charred. If nerve damage is substantial, you may feel no pain at all.
The Medical Concierge Group gives the best advice on how to treat burns and scalds at home.
Stop the burning process as soon as possible. This may mean removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water or smothering flames with a blanket. Do not put yourself at risk of getting burnt as well.
Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin. However, don’t try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin because this could cause more damage.
Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances such as butter.
Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person’s body temperature drops below 35ºC (95ºF). This is a risk if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.[related_posts]
Treat the pain from a burn with paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions when using over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Children under 16 years of age should not be given aspirin.
Once you have taken the first aid steps posted above, you will need to decide whether further medical treatment is necessary. Go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department for:
– Large or deep burns – any burn bigger than the affected person’s hand
– Full thickness burns of all sizes – these burns cause white or charred skin
– Partial thickness burns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals – these are burns that cause blisters
– All chemical and electrical burns
Also get medical help straight away if the person with the burn:
– Has other injuries that need treating
– Is going into shock – signs include cold clammy skin, sweating, rapid shallow breathing and weakness or dizziness
– Is pregnant
– Is over 60 years of age
– Is under five years of age
– Has a medical condition such as heart, lung or liver disease, or diabetes
– Has a weakened immune system (the body’s defence system), for example because of HIV or AIDS, or because they’re having chemotherapy for cancer
Note: If someone has breathed in smoke or fumes, they should also seek medical attention. Some symptoms may be delayed and can include coughing, a sore throat, difficulty breathing, singed nasal hair or facial burns.
Source: Medical Concierge Group