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Saturday, September 20, 2008

What can you do about - Burns and Scalds

Burns and scalds are injuries to the tissues of the body caused by heat, electricity, cold, chemicals or radiation. A scald is a burn by 'wet heat' e.g. hot liquids, steam.

The depth of burns can be classified as :

Superficial burns - Only the outer layer of the skin is damaged. The skin feels hot and is red and painful with no blisters. For example, mild sunburn or a scald caused by a splash of hot tea.

Partial - thickness burns- The skin is red and very painful. It is associated with swelling and blisters.

Full - thickness burns - All layers of the skin are damaged. The skin looks pale, leathery or charred. It is painless because the nerves are damaged. Always seek Emergency medical attention immediately for such burns.

What you can do

# Immediately wash the burnt area under cold, running water for about 10 minutes or immerse the burnt area in a bucket of cold water. This is to lower the temperature of the skin and decrease the injury caused by the burn or scald.
Wash with Cold water

# Carefully remove any clothing (unless it is stuck to the burn) or accessories from the burnt area before any swelling develops.

# After cooling the burnt area, pat dry with a clean cloth.

# Cover the area with a clean or sterile dressing which will not stick to the burn such as food-wrap film. There are many appropriate dressing available at the pharmacy.

# Do not break a blister as germs may enter and cause infection. If a blister breaks on its own, do not remove the skin; wipe the fluid off before covering the area with a dry, non-adherent dressing.

When to see your doctor

See your family doctor when:

1. You need help with the dressing

2. The burn gets infected and results in fever, redness, swelling, increasing pain and pus formation

When it is an Emergency

Go to the Emergency Department:

1. It is a full-thickness burn or a large partial-thickness burn

2. The burn is in the mouth or throat, at the eyes, ears or genital area, or involves an entire finger or hand.

3. The burn is caused by a chemical substance

4. The burn is caused by electricity or lightning

5. The burnt area is of a larger area than a person's hand.

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Blogger Jaanvi said...

very handy tips. my friend's son burnt his fingers and he was in so much pain... she had the foresight and did use some tips u mentioned and it really helped the child.

September 21, 2008 at 3:46 PM  

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