| How Should I Treat A Burn?
The general treatment for burns and scalds is simple: you need to cool and cover the affected part of skin. If the burn is severe, you need to then seek medical attention.
General Treatment For Burns
1. Lie the person on the floor to reduce the effects of shock.
2. Pour cool water over the burnt area. The cooling will reduce the risk of swelling, pain and scarring. If you are applying water from a shower or faucet, ensure that the pressure is minimal because pressure on burnt skin will add to pain and damage.
3. Keep cooling the affected part until pain stops. This may take 10 minutes. If pain continues, keep cooling it, even after 10 minutes.
4. Once the pain has eased, cover the wound to prevent infection. Ideally this should be done with a sterile bandage, tied very loosely. If you are worried that the material may stick to the wound, do not attempt to cover it without talking to a doctor first. If you need to improvise any clean, non-fluffy material can be used such as a cotton pillow case, handkerchief or plaster wrap (cling film).
5. If possible raise the injured part of the body because this can help prevent swelling.
Burns To Neck And Mouth
The general principle for treating burns remains to cool and cover. However, burns to the neck and mouth need extra care because beyond the risk of infection and shock, there is a risk of swelling obstructing the air passage.
1. Check the person is breathing, if not, be prepared to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
2. Call an ambulance.
3. Help the person into a position where breathing is more comfortable.
4. Loosen clothing around their neck.
5. Poor cool water over the burns continuously. Do NOT attempt to cover the burns.
6. Maintain a check on the person's breathing until help arrives.
How Can You Tell If A Burn Is Severe?
There are 2 things that determine how severe a burn is:
1. How deep the burn is.
2. The size or area of skin affected.
Depth of Burn
Although it can be very painful, a superficial burn only involves the outer layer of skin. The area is red, and a little swollen. If good first aid is applied, and large areas of skin are not affected, it can be treated at home.
A deeper wound is characterized by raw-looking skin with blisters that weep a clear fluid. This type of burn generally needs medical attention because of the risk of shock.
Severe burns involve damage to deep layers of skin, including nerve endings and possibly underlying organs and tissues. They are characterized by white waxy areas of skin which may not hurt because of nerve damage. This always requires emergency care and often plastic surgery in the long-term.
Size Of Area Burnt
Generally, the larger the area burned, the more serious the burn. Any burn to the neck and face needs immediate medical attention. If the person is in a great deal of pain, is showing signs of shock or has problems breathing, then always call an ambulance, regardless of the size or depth of the burn.
Other First Aid Treatments
How to treat someone with electric shock: Emergency advice.
How to stop someone choking: Back slapping and abdominal thrusts.
How to treat poisoning: Chemicals, drug overdose and gases.
How to treat someone in shock: After injury.
How to treat sunburn: Home remedies for sunburn.
How to treat blisters: Blisters not caused by burns.
How to treat a sprain: First aid for sprained wrists and ankles.
How to treat heatstroke: Heat cramps and exhaustion.
How to stop someone bleeding: First aid for cuts.
• Other health issues? See: How to treat common illnesses.
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