How to Treat a Burn
Burns are classified in three categories according to their severity. First-Degree Burns affect the outer layer of the skin, first-degree burns cause pain, redness, and swelling. They usually do not require medical attention. Second-Degree Burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of the skin, causing pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Third-Degree Burns Severe tissue damage is evident involving the skin, fatty tissue, nerves, and other tissues deep below the surface. Indications of third-degree burns include swelling, skin that is charred or white, and limited pain because nerves have been damaged or destroyed.
Before giving first aid, consider how extensively burned the victim is and try to determine the depth of the most serious part of the burn. Then treat the entire burn accordingly. Knowing how the burn occurred is helpful, since different sources cause different types of burns. If in doubt, treat it as a severe burn.
Giving immediate first aid before professional medical help is received may lessen the severity of the burn. Prompt medical attention to serious burns can help prevent scarring, disability, and deformity. If the burn does not heal normally, get medical advice. For extensive but superficial burns, keep dressings clean and dry and change them as needed. If signs of infection develop get medical help immediately. Signs of infection include increased pain, redness, swelling, drainage from the burn, swollen lymph nodes, or red streaks spreading from the burn toward the heart. Make sure the victim is up-to-date on tetanus immunization. Victims under age 4 or over age 60 have a higher incidence of complications and, consequently, a higher death rate. Burns on the face, hands, feet, and genitalia are most serious, because of possible loss of function.
The most common type of burns are Thermal burns, they are the result of residential fires, automobile accidents, playing with matches, improperly stored gasoline, space heaters, electrical malfunctions, or arson. Burns can be caused by dry heat (like fire), wet heat (such as steam or hot liquids), radiation, friction, heated objects, the sun, electricity, or chemicals. Airway burns can be caused by inhaling smoke, steam, superheated air, or toxic fumes, often in a poorly ventilated space. Other causes include improper handling of firecrackers, scalding accidents, and kitchen accidents (such a child climbing on top of a stove or grabbing a hot iron).Burns in children are sometimes traced to parental abuse.
pain (The degree of pain is not related to the severity of the burn; the most serious burns can be painless.)
shock (Watch for pale and clammy skin, weakness, bluish lips and fingernails, and decreasing alertness.)
white or charred skin
DO NOT apply ointment, butter, ice, medications, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil...