Burns are injuries to tissue that result from heat, electricity, radiation, or chemicals.
Burns may be classified by depth or by severity
First-degree burns are the most shallow and affects only the top layer of skin (epidermis).
– Painful to touch
– Skin will show mild swelling
Second-degree burns extend into the middle layer of skin (dermis).
– Deep reddening of the skin
– Glossy appearance from leaking fluid
– Possible loss of some skin
Third-degree burns penetrates the entire thickness of the skin and permanently destroys tissue
– Loss of skin layers
– Often painless
– Skin is dry and leathery
– Skin may appear charred or have patches which appear white, brown or black
Minor burns: All first-degree burns as well as second-degree burns that involve less than 10% of the body surface.
Moderate and severe burns: Burns involving the hands, feet, face, or genitals, second-degree burns involving more than 10% of the body surface area, and all third-degree burns involving more than 1% of the body.
FIRST-AID TREATMENT FOR MINOR BURNS
– Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cool running water for 10 or 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cool water. Cooling the burn reduces swelling by conducting heat away from the skin.
– Apply antibiotic ointment then cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage. Don’t use fluffy cotton, or other material that may get lint in the wound. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the burn, reduces pain and protects blistered skin.
– Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
– Do not use ice. This can cause further damage to the wound.
– Don’t apply egg whites or butter to the burn. This could cause infection.
– Don’t break blisters. Broken blisters are more vulnerable to infection.
FOR SEVERE BURNS, seek medical help. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:
– Don’t remove burned clothing. However, do make sure the victim is no longer in contact with smoldering materials or exposed to smoke or heat.
– Don’t immerse large severe burns in cold water. Doing so could cause a drop in body temperature (hypothermia) and deterioration of blood pressure and circulation (shock).
– Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If there is no breathing or other sign of circulation, begin CPR.
– Elevate the burned body part or parts. Raise above heart level, when possible.
– Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist, sterile bandage; clean, moist cloth; or moist cloth towels.