Burns and scalds are caused by damage to the skin caused by intense heat. A burn is generally caused by dry heat, like a hot iron, fire, or the sun. A scald is initiated by wet heat, like a hot cup of coffee or steam
You must be extra cautious when handling burns. The longer the burning carries on, the more serious the injury will be, and the longer it might take to fully heal. So you must cool the burn immediately.
If somebody has a serious burn or scald they are expected to suffer from shock, due of the loss of fluid, so they will require urgent hospital care.
What To Search For
If you think somebody has a burn or scald, there are five important signs to look for:
- Red skin
- Blisters might form on the skin later on
- The skin might peel
- The skin might be white or charred
What You Need To Do
Stop the burning from getting worse, by moving the victim away from the cause of the heat. Begin cooling the burn as soon as you can. Place it under cool water for about ten minutes or until the aching has subsided. (Don’t use gels, creams or ice – they can harm tissues and increase the possibility of infection).
Evaluate how severe the burn is. It is serious if it is:
- Bigger than the size of the victim’s hand
- On the face, feet or hands, or
- A deep burn
If it is severe, phone for emergency assistance. Take off any clothing or jewellery surrounding the burn (except if it is embedded in the burn).Conceal the burned area with kitchen cling film or any hygienic, non-fluffy material, like a fresh plastic bag. This will guard the burn from infection. If needed, treat for shock (shock is a fatal condition). If you are uncertain if the burn is severe then tell the individual to see a GP.
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