Feeling the Burn: Treatment Tips
Burns are one of the most common household injuries, especially among children in this season. This is mainly because of a lack of central heating. We are used to heating water in big pans and using it for washing, cooking, bathing etc. In villages, open fires are used as fire places to warm oneself. Worryingly, it is very easy to spill hot water or slip near a fire place. Also, there are burns which happen during cooking but apart from that there are others such as electric burns, chemical burns, sunburn etc.
In case of a burn, we all need to know what to do as first aid to ensure the least damage possible. Here are a few tips-
No matter what the source is, the first thing to do is to remove the person from the area to a safer place.
Cool the area with cool running water; do not put ice, butter or apply anything else on the area.
If it is a chemical burn, keep pouring water on it till you get to a hospital. Do not cover the wound without the advice of a doctor.
If you have some lidocaine cream at home or some antibiotic cream, apply that and cover the wound with clean gauze. Do not use cotton as that may stick to the wound.
Give the patient some painkiller. Keep the patient hydrated.
After doing all of this, the patient can go to see a doctor who will examine the wound and give further treatment according to the type of burn. Burns can be of numerous degrees of concern. There are first degree, second degree and third degree burns. This is estimated according to the depth and area of the burn. Usually, a first degree burn only involves the superficial layers of the skin and a blister may or may not be present. It will usually heal within 7 days and doesn't cause any scar or complication.
A second degree burn is more severe as it causes damage to a deeper layer of the skin and also causes some superficial layer of nerve endings. It is painful and may be wet if the blisters burst. After applying first aid, a doctor should be consulted who will give some antibiotics and advise sterile dressing of the wound. This burn may take some time to heal and some scarring may occur.
Third degree burns will need immediate professional help. Here the burn is deep including the skin and some muscles along with nerve damage. Patients may need admission and also some surgery may be needed. The patient may be in shock which also needs treatment. Scarring and deformity may occur after these kinds of burns.
All kinds of burn can become infected as bacteria can enter through broken skin. The area should be kept dry and covered. Second and third degree burns should be treated seriously so that significant scarring or deformity can be avoided.
How to prevent BURNS-
1. Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking. Keep the pan handle towards the wall so that it cannot be reached.
2. Carry hot water in buckets instead of pans as they reduce the area of impact for the carrier in case of an accident, like someone bumping into you.
3. Check temperature of the bath water before using it.
4. Keep exposed electric wires covered and out of reach.
5. Harmful chemicals should not be kept inside or near living quarters.
6. In villages, make sure your clothes are properly arranged and not nearby any open flame.
7. Keep children away from open fires.
8. Use sunscreen if going out in the sun to avoid skin burns.
Do not panic if burn injury does occur. Apply first aid treatment and take the patient to a doctor as soon as possible.