Burns to the skin can occur
in many ways. Burns can be caused
by dry heat such as fire, moist heat such as steam or hot liquids, Radiation,
friction, heated objects, the sun, electricity, or chemicals.
burns are the most common type. Thermal burns occur when hot metals, scalding
liquids, steam, or flames come in contact with the skin. This type of burn
result frequently from fires, automobile accidents, playing with matches,
improperly stored gasoline, space heaters, and electrical malfunctions. Other
causes include unsafe handling of fireworks and/or kitchen accidents (such as a
child climbing on top of a stove, pulling down a hot pot, or grabbing a hot
smoke, steam, or superheated air can cause burns to your airways, or toxic
fumes, often in a poorly ventilated space.
are three levels of burns:
- First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin. They cause pain,
redness, and swelling.
- Second-degree burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of skin. They
cause pain, redness, swelling, and blistering.
burns extend into deeper tissues. They cause white or blackened,
charred skin that may be numb.
FOR MINOR BURNS – First and Second Degree – small area not
involving the mouth, face chest genitals or circumferentially to the
hands or feet.
- If the skin is
unbroken, run cool water over the area of the burn.
A clean, cold, wet towel will also help reduce pain.
- Calm and
reassure the person.
- After flushing
for several minutes, cover the burn with a sterile bandage (if
available) or clean cloth.
- Protect the
burn from pressure and friction.
- Minor burns
will usually heal without further treatment. However, if a
second-degree burn covers an area more than 2 to 3 inches in
diameter, or if it occurred on the hands, feet, face, groin,
buttocks, or a major joint, then treat the burn as a major burn (see
FOR MAJOR BURNS
- Call 911 or
your local emergency number.
- Make sure that
the person is no longer in contact with smoldering materials.
However, DO NOT remove burnt clothing that is stuck to the skin.
- Make sure the
person is breathing. If breathing has stopped, or if the person's
airway is blocked, open the airway. If necessary, begin CPR.
- Cover the burn
area with a cool, moist sterile bandage (if available) or clean
cloth. A sheet will do if the burned area is large. DO NOT apply any
ointments. Avoid breaking burn blisters.
- If fingers or
toes have been burned, separate them with dry, sterile, non-adhesive
- Elevate the
body part that is burned above the level of the heart. Protect the
burnt area from pressure and friction.
- Take steps to
prevent shock. Lay the person flat, elevate the feet about 12
inches, and cover him or her with a coat or blanket. However, DO NOT
place the person in this shock position if a head, neck, back, or
leg injury is suspected or if it makes the person uncomfortable.
- Continue to
monitor the person's vital signs (pulse, and rate of breathing)
until medical help arrives.
- DO NOT apply
ointment, butter, ice, medications, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive
bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn. This
can interfere with proper healing and may need to be scrubbed off at
- DO NOT allow
the burn to become contaminated.
- DO NOT break
blisters or scrub dead skin.
- DO NOT remove
clothing that is stuck to the skin; just cool the area with water.
- DO NOT give the
person anything by mouth.
- DO NOT immerse
a severe burn in cold water. This can cause shock.
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