Burns! What Now?

Burns are a common injury that can occur in various situations at home and in the workplace. Common causes of burns include:

  1. Thermal Burns: These are caused by contact with flames, hot objects (such as hot surfaces, liquids, or steam), or exposure to other sources of extreme heat. 
  1. Chemical Burns: These occur when the skin comes into contact with corrosive substances such as acids, alkalis, or strong cleaning agents. 
  1. Electrical Burns: These are caused by contact with electrical currents, such as from electrical outlets, wires, or appliances. 
  1. Radiation Burns: Exposure to sources of radiation, such as the sun, tanning beds, or radiation therapy, can cause burns. 

It’s important to understand that the severity of a burn can vary significantly. Factors such as the temperature and duration of exposure, as well as the location and size of the burn, can all influence the outcome. 

Treating a burn at home typically involves five steps:

  1. Assess the Burn: Determine the severity of the burn. If it’s a minor burn, such as a first-degree or small second-degree burn, you can typically treat it at home. However, if it’s a more severe burn, especially if it covers a large area or involves the face, hands, feet, or genitals, seek medical attention immediately. 
  1. Cool the Burn: Immediately hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. This helps to stop the burning process and reduce swelling. Do not use ice, as it can further damage the skin. 
  1. Apply Burnshield: Carefully apply Burnshield directly onto the burned area, covering the entire burn. Burnshield is a hydrogel dressing that provides a cooling effect, helps to soothe the skin, and prevents the burn from drying out, reducing the risk of infection. 
  1. Cover the Burn: Once the Burnshield is applied, cover the burned area with a sterile, non-adherent dressing or a clean, dry cloth. Secure the dressing in place with medical tape or a bandage. Avoid using cotton balls or anything that may stick to the burn and cause further irritation. 
  1. Seek Medical Attention if Necessary: If the burn is severe (large, deep, or covering a major joint or body part), if the person burned is an infant or elderly, or if the burn is caused by chemicals or electricity, seek medical attention immediately. Also, seek medical help if the burn shows signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, warmth, or oozing pus. Remember, severe burns can result in complications such as infection, scarring, or loss of function, which is why professional medical help is crucial. 

Remember, these steps are to effectively treat minor burns. While they can often be managed at home with simple first aid measures, it’s crucial to be aware that more severe burns may require medical attention and can result in complications such as infection, scarring, or loss of function. 

For more severe burns, especially those covering a large area or causing significant pain, it’s essential to seek professional medical help promptly. In such cases, call Relay EMS on 0861 061 061 or WhatsApp us on 0730 000 911.