Burns are one of the most common household injuries, especially among children. The term “burn” means more than the burning sensation associated with this injury.They are characterized by severe skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die.
Most people can recover from burns without serious health consequences, depending on the cause and degree of injury. However, more serious burns require immediate emergency medical care to prevent complications and death.
There are three primary types of burns: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. Each is based on the severity of damage to the skin, with first-degree and third-degree being the least severe and most severe respectively.
Below are some of the first aid basics for dealing with burns:
First, stop the burning to prevent a more severe burn.
- Thermal burns (Heat burns): Smother any flames by covering them with a blanket or water. In a case where your cloth catches fire, do not run: just stop, drop and roll on the ground to smother the flames.
- Cold burns: A cold burn is when damage is done to the skin due to freezing. Apply first aid measures to for warmth. Small areas of your body that are really cold or frozen can be warmed by blowing warm air on them, putting them in warm water or tucking them inside your clothing.
- Liquid scald burns: Run cool tap water over the burn for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not apply ice. You can apply penicillin on the surface thereafter.
- Electrical burns: Ensure that the individual has been separated from the electrical source, check for breathing and a heartbeat, then call for emergency.
- Chemical burns: Natural foods such as chili peppers, which contain a substance irritating to the skin, can cause a burning sensation. Prevent such burns by thoroughly washing of that part of the skin with soap and water. Vaseline or any ointment could be applied.
Most minor burns will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your symptoms and promote healing. But if you suspect you may have a more severe injury, use first aid measures while you arrange for an evaluation by your doctor.