Health Vision

First aid for – Burns & scalds

First aid for – Burns & scalds

A burn is an injury caused by

  • Dry Heat – fire / a piece of hot metal
  • Electric Burn – High tension wire
  • Friction – Contact with revolving wheel / object.
  • Corrosive Burn –

Acids – Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acidfirst aid for burn

Alkaline– Strong Ammonia

Scald- is an injury caused by moist heat, such as boiling water, steam, hot oil/tar.

Effects of burn /scalds

  • Reddening of skin – blister formation and destruction of the skin.
  • Pain is very severe
  • Burns leads to shock when burn is severe – septic infection.

Treatment

  • Handle the casualty after washing your hands
  • Avoid handling the affected area more than necessary
  • Do not use lotion of any kind
  • Do not remove / lift burnt clothing and do not break blisters
  • Cover the area with neat & clean cloth
  • Bandage firmly / if blister is present bandage lightly
  • Immobile the affected area.

Degrees of burns

  • I Degree – burn causes epidermal (surface layer of skin) injury with redness of the skin
  • II Degree – burn causes partial destruction of dermise (inner layer of skin below epidermise) with damage to the epidermis giving rise to blister formation.
  • III Degree – burn causes complete epidermal and dermal (inner layer of skin below epidermise) destruction and may extend even deeper.

Management of major burns

  • Remove the patient to hospital as quickly as possible
  • Nothing by mouth be given, as patient may require anaesthesia
  • Any burns more than 30% needs hospitlisation.

Burns caused by corrosive chemicals

Management

Acids

  • Thoroughly flood the affected part with water
  • Bathe the part freely with an alkaline solution (2 tsp of baking soda or washing soda in 1 pint of warm water.)
  • Remove the contaminated cloth as quickly as possible

Alkaline

  • Thoroughly flood the affected part with water
  • Bathe the part freely with a weak acid solution
  • Lime Juice
  • Vinegar with equal amount of water
  • Remove the contaminated cloth as quickly as possible
  • Do not rub the affected eye/nor the other eye.

Helping a person whose clothes have caught fire

  • Put out the flame either by using drinking water or any readily available water to douse the flame. Water cools the area & lessens the damage.

Or

  • Wrap tightly with any piece of cloth, rug or coat.

Or

  • Role on the floor and put of the fire.
  • Do not allow the person to run about – more oxygen – more burn.

Management of minor burns

  • Do not remove the clothing unnecessarily
  • Do not open blisters.
  • Cleanse the area with clean water
  • Submerge/dip the burnt area in cold water
  • Apply solution of salt and water
  • Cover with dry dressing
  • Do not apply any greasy substances
  • Give warm drinks.
  • Shift the casualty to the Hospital

Read more on World health organisation’s tips on  Medical kit and toilet items

To know more about first aid click here

K K Pradeep
Tejus crisis and Trauma Foundation

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