Burns and scalds First Aid Tips

Burns are skin injuries caused by dry heat, as in fire or hot surfaces. Scalds are skin injuries caused by steam, hot water, or hot liquids. They are both painful and cause similar symptoms, such as reddened skin with swelling, peeling skin, and blister formation after some time. In some cases, very severe burns and scalds are painless when it is deep enough to destroy nerve terminals that transmit the sensation of pain.

First aids to tread burns and scalds

After removing the source of heat and placing the person in a safe place, remove clothes, jewellery and any metallic accessory near the affected area but if something adheres to the burnt skin, leave it as it is. When burns are located in the face or eyes, do not lay down the patient but instruct him to remain sit up to reduce the swelling. Cool down the skin with running water for 20 continuous minutes. In this early stage, avoid using creams, butter, ice, or very cold water. After doing this, cover the burn with a transparent plastic film.

In some cases, and depending on the temperature, it will be important to help the patient keep his body heat with a blanket. You can also improve the symptoms by giving the patient painkillers to reduce inflammation and pain, as in ibuprofen.

When to look for medical help

The majority of minor burns can be solved at home, but some of them require urgent medical attention.

Call your doctor or look for urgent medical assistance if:
● Burns or scalds are larger than the palm of your hand
● Burns are caused by electricity, dangerous or unknown chemicals
● Burns or scalds are located in the face or genitals
● Burns result in whitish instead of reddened skin
● The patient is a child under five years or a pregnant woman

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