How to treat/look after burns
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First-degree burns – have similar qualities to sunburn, the skin is red and sensation is intact. This burn is painful and covers a small area of skin.
Treatment: Should be treated by running cold water over the area for 5 minutes at a time, for a total of 30 minutes. Do not let the area become numb and do not cover the area with anything. The heat needs to leave the body.
Second-degree burns – the skin is red and blistered and the pain is much more intense. The burn normally covers a small area of the body.
Treatment: Second-degree burns are more serious. Initially, running cold water over the area for 30 minutes will help with the pain, and will help prevent the heat damaging tissues further. Again, do not let the cold water numb the area as that could cause further damage. A bad second-degree burn can cause dehydration, requiring medical treatment. You should drink lots of water to prevent this.
A second-degree burn should be patted dry with a clean, lint free cloth, making sure any blistering is NOT broken. If the wound is open, it should be covered with breathable gauze and a cotton bandage to prevent infection. If the wound is closed, it can be covered with a clean cotton bandage that allows the wound to breath, but at the same time, helps prevent infection and further injury to the area.
If a bandage sticks to the burn when trying to remove it, do not pull it, but gently run it under warm water until it comes away, then pat the area dry with a clean cloth.
Third-degree burns – the skin is white because the damage has caused skin death. The skin has no sensation. Burns that cover more than 15% of the body are also considered third degree as they lead to shock and require hospitalisation.
Treatment: Third-degree burns require immediate medical assistance and you should not attempt to treat them yourself. Shock will lower the body temperature, so it is important to keep the body warm whilst at the same time allowing heat to escape from the site of the burn itself.
Chemical burns should be rinsed with water. Medical assistance should be sought as soon as possible.
Please follow these guidelines when dealing with burns:
For any burn it is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible as there may be damage that is not visible to the naked eye.
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