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How to Treat a Burn

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Determining the Degree of Your Burn:-

Figure out if you have a first degree burn-First degree burns are the most common, and happen as a result of light scalding, brief contact with hot items, and the sun. The damage is only on the most superficial or outer layer of the skin. They will likely appear red, slightly swollen, and may or may not be slightly painful. Treat your first degree burn at home, since there is usually no need for expert medical attention. First degree burns are classified as ‘minor burns’ and should be treated as such.

Know if you have a second degree burn-Your skin might also appear blotchy, blisters will form, and the pain will be much more intense. Unless your second degree burn is on your hands, feet, groin, or face, treat it like a minor burn. If you have blisters, don't drain them. If the blister is drained, keep it clean by rinsing with water and swabbing with antibacterial ointment. You can also cover the ointment on the skin with a band aid or another dressing. This dressing needs to be changed daily.

See if you have a third degree burn-Third degree burns are the most serious and need immediate medical attention. These happen when extended exposure to a hot object burns through all three layers of your skin, sometimes causing muscle, fat, and bone damage. The burns will look leathery and have a white or black appearance. The pain can vary depending on the level of damage to the nerves in the skin layer. These burns can look “wet” because of the rupture of the cells and protein leakage.

Check low-temperature burns-These are ‘burns’ that occur when your skin is exposed to low temperatures, like snow or ice, for an extended period of time. The area will look bright red, white, or black and will have a strong burning sensation as the skin is rewarmed. A low temperature “burn” is still considered a burn because it damages the skin's tissue layers.

  • Treat low-temperature burns as major burns in most cases, and get medical help for treatment.
  • Rewarm the skin in 37°C/98.6°F to 39°C/102.2°F water immediately after exposure.

Determine if you have a chemical burn-Chemical burns are another type of burn caused by skin contact with harmful chemicals that damage the skin layers. These types of burns will probably appear in the form of red patches, a rash, blisters, and open sores on your skin. Avoid water if exposed to dry lime or elemental metals (such as sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, lithium etc.) as these can react with water and cause more injury.


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Treating Minor Burns:-

Run cool water over the burn-As soon as you can, run cool water over the burn. This will prevent further damage to your skin. Stick the burned area under cool running water for 10-15 minutes or until the pain subsides. Avoid using more cold water, since this can damage the skin around the burn.

Remove tight clothing or jewellery quickly-As soon as you can, or while rinsing the burn, remove anything that might constrict your skin as the wound swells. When in doubt, take it off. This lets blood to flow to the wound and starts healing it. Removing tight clothing or jewellery can also prevent further damage.

Apply a cold compress-If cold water isn’t an option, use a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel. Place it over your burn. Apply the compress for 10-15 minutes, wait for 30 minutes, and then reapply for 10-15 minutes. Never apply ice or your compress directly to the burn, since this will damage the skin. Keep the towel between you and the ice instead.

Clean the burn-After washing your hands, use soap and water to clean the burn and prevent infection. Do not pop blisters while you clean since they actually protect your skin from infection. Take care not to pop the blister or drain the contents, since the body is able to take care of minor blisters on its own. Antibiotic ointment isn't needed if your blisters haven't popped. But, if they have or if your wound is exposed, use an antibiotic to prevent infection.

Avoid using home remedies like egg whites, butter, and tea-The internet is awash with "miracle" solutions for burns, but few scientific studies have actually proven them to work. Many reputable sources, such as the Red Cross, found them to be worse for burns because they contain bacteria that can lead to infection. Natural moisturizers such as aloe Vera or soy may be helpful in cases of sunburn.


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Treating Major Burns:-

Call ambulance-Don't try to treat major burns at home. They need immediate treatment by a professional. Immediately call for an ambulance or visit your doctor or an emergency room immediately.

Safely remove the victim from the heat source-If possible, do whatever you can to prevent further burns or injury. Stop the heat source or move the suffering person. Never pull on or move someone using the burned area for leverage. If you do, you could further damage the skin and possibly open up a wound even more. This can cause great pain to a suffering victim and lead to shock.

Cover the burn-Apply a cool, moist towel over the burned area to protect it until help arrives. Do not use ice or immerse the affected area in cold water. This can cause hypothermia or further damage to the sensitive area.

Remove any chemical irritants-If your burn was caused by chemicals, clean the area of any remaining chemicals but safely. Run the area under cool water or add a cool compress as you wait for emergency help. Do not attempt any home remedies on a chemical burn.

Seek immediate help for shock-Look for shock symptoms: weak or rapid pulse, low blood pressure, clammy skin, disorientation or unconsciousness, nausea, combativeness. Call an ambulance to get the victim to the hospital quickly. This is a life threatening situation on top of an already dangerous situation. The body loses a significant amount of fluids when a large surface area is burned. The body cannot function normally with such low levels of fluid and blood.


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