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How to deal with burns

Burn injuries are very difficult to heal, especially if they are third degree burns. They are caused by various sources of heat such as fire, electricity, chemicals, fluids and sun. Given below are some measures to deal with burns.

Stop the burning process and be safe

The first thing to do in case of a fire or similar accident is to cool the burned area with running water for some time. If the burn injury is minor, it can be cooled with the help of tap water. If the burn injury is bigger, rinse it with a hose from outside. Remember not to spray the injury with high pressure water. Just let the water run freely on the affected area for some time. If you have called for an ambulance, try to keep the water running till the ambulance arrives. The person who is trying the save the victim has to be careful not to get burn injuries while trying to save the victim. Most of the burn injuries are caused due to carelessness. First-degree burns are caused when you have a brief contact with heat. It causes pain, redness and swelling. Second-degree burns are severe than the first-degree burns and result in intense redness and blisters. Third-degree burns are very deep and may be painless because of nerve damage.

First aid for the victim

If the victim is wearing any jewelry or clothing near the burnt area, avoid removing them if they are stuck to the skin. This can cause more damage. Cool the burn with cool water for some time. Avoid using iced water, greasy substances or creams. Cover the person with layers of clothing or blanket to keep him warm. This is for preventing hypothemia. The risk is more when you are trying to cool a large area, especially in elderly people and children. Cover the burn with a clear and clean plastic or a cling film. If there is pain, it can be reduced with ibuprofen or paracetamol. Children below 16 years should not be given aspirin. Avoid using things like oil or butter to soothe the burn. They may wrap the heat inside and cause more damage. When the person is recovering, use loose clothes made of cotton or silk. Use of harsh fabrics can irritate the skin.

Electrical burns

Electrical burns can be very damaging even if they do not look serious. If you suffer from electrical burns, you have to seek medical help immediately. When the injury is caused by a low-voltage source of about 220-240, switch off the power supply first and take the person away from the source. Use a non-conductive material while removing the person. Materials like a wooden chair or a wooden stick may be useful. If the person is connected to a high voltage source of 1000 volts or more, then do not approach the person. It is better to seek professional help.

Chemical burns

Chemical burns are also very damaging and need immediate help from the Accident and Emergency department. Try to identify the chemical that caused the burn injury. Wear appropriate protective gear while assisting someone with a chemical burn. First, remove the affected clothing from the victim’s body. If the chemical is in powder or dry form, brush off the excess amount from the skin. Use cool running water to get rid of all the traces of the chemical. Inform the medical professional about the chemical that was responsible for the burn injury. He will be able to administer the right treatment.


If you find symptoms of sunburn like red, hot and painful skin, take the affected person to a shady area or inside a room. A cool bath or a shower is beneficial for cooling the skin. Use an after-sun lotion on the affected areas to soothe and cool. Avoid using oily and greasy products. Pain can be reduced by taking ibuprofen or paracetamol. Drink a lot of water and remain hydrated. Look out for signs of heatstroke or exhaustion when the body temperature rises to about 37-40 degrees Celsius such as vomiting, dizziness or rapid pulse rate. If you are not able to deal with the situation, it is better to seek medical help immediately for appropriate treatment.

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