How to treat a burn

As a mom, you no doubt want to do all you can to protect your family from harm. The trouble is, no matter how hard you try, there is always a risk that an accident will happen – and burns are one household hazard you need to watch out for.

In case one of your loved ones suffers an injury like this, it’s important that you have access to well stocked first aid kits, and you’ll also need to know exactly what to do. By acting fast and doing the right things, you can limit the amount of damage that burns cause to the skin.


Things you can do at home

First and foremost, you’ll need to stop the burning process. This may involve removing the person from the area, dousing a blaze or smothering flames with a blanket. Don’t put yourself at risk too though, otherwise you’ll only be adding to the problems.

Next, remove any clothing or jewelry near to the area of burnt skin. However, don’t try to take any items away that are actually stuck to the burnt skin , as this could result in more damage.

It’s important to cool the affected area with lukewarm water for between 10 minutes and half an hour. Ideally, you should start this process within 20 minutes of the injury happening. Never use ice cold water or ice itself to cool burns, and resist the temptation to apply any creams to the area too.

If the burnt area is large, there is a risk that the person will develop hypothermia. To stop this from happening, use a blanket or extra layers of clothing. Make sure you steer clear of the injured skin though.

You can cover the burn with saran wrap. Do this by applying the plastic sheet in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. For hands, clear plastic bags can be used.

You might also be able to provide pain relief with over-the-counter medications, but always read the manufacturer’s instructions first. Bear in mind that children under the age of 16 shouldn’t be given aspirin.

Know when to go to hospital

Minor burns can often be treated at home, but in more serious cases, you’ll need to go to hospital. For example, if the burn is any bigger than the affected person’s hand, it’s wise to seek assistance. The same applies to full thickness burns of all sizes. These injuries can cause white or charred skin. Partial thickness burns (which can cause blisters) should be assessed in hospital if they occur on the face, arms, hands, feet or genitals.

Also, you should get help for any chemical or electrical burns, or if the injured person is showing signs of shock. In addition, it’s important to take a trip to hospital if the person is pregnant, under the age of five or has a weakened immune system.

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