Skin burns are one of the most common household injuries that are not given their due attention. The skin is the body’s first level of defence mechanism and hence, if left unattended can lead to some major infections and diseases.
What is a burn?
‘Burn’ refers to a type of skin injury caused when the skin comes in contact with hot objects, chemicals, friction or radiations. It can be classified into 3 degrees and needs to be attended to accordingly.
1st degree burns
This is a superficial burn, affecting only the uppermost layer of the skin; the epidermis. Sun burns are the most common example of such burns.
2nd degree burns
This type of burn affects the deeper layer of the skin – the epidermis and the dermis may be affected partially or completely.
3rd degree burns
The burn affects both the epidermis and the dermis and goes deeper to affect the deeper tissues. It results in white or blackened and charred numb skin.
What can you do?
First degree burns – These are best treated by gently cleaning the area with an antiseptic, and applying a cold compress.
It is advisable to consult a doctor in case the irritation persists after a couple of days or if blisters start forming.
1) Remove the source of heat from the patient.
2) Gently remove any piece of clothing if it has hot water or chemical on it that has caused the burn
3) Remove any rings, watches, bracelets or any tight clothing from the injured area to prevent swelling.
4) Lay the patient down if he is feeling weak. And position him in a way that the affected area can be placed in a bucket or bowl of cool water.
5) Cool the affected area atleast for twenty minutes under cool water.
6) Pat it dry with a clean towel.
7) Apply a sterile dressing.
8) DO NOT try removing any clothing stuck to the wound.
9) DO NOT apply any ointments or creams without a doctor prescribing them.
Other than first degree burns, it is best that the victim is rushed to the doctor at the earliest.
Incase a person’s clothing is on fire, it is best to cover him with a blanket and follow the STOP, DROP and ROLL procedure.
Consulting a doctor in all cases is recommended to ensure right first aid is provided to prevent infection and increased severity of the burns.