Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Treat Burns

Okay, so you're making your world famous chili, and you pour some out and you're walking to a table, and suddenly, your darn cat decides to attack you from behind. So you drop the chili all over yourself, and suddenly, you find yourself in burning agony. Today was a bad day to make chili.

Don't lean forward.

So what to do now? Wash it over some cold water, and move on with you life? Maybe.

Determine the severity of the burn. I mean, you don't want to go to the ER if you only "burned" your hand with a little warm water right?
  • First Degree Burn - Only affects the outer portions of your skin (Epidermis), the skin is red and somewhat painful.
  • Second Degree Burn - Occurs when the outer portion of your skin (Epidermis) is burned though, and the second layer has also been burned. They are much more painful then first degree burns, and usually are accompanied by swellings and blisters. If blisters occur, its usually not recommended to pop them yourself.
  • Third Degree Burn - Most severe type of burn; occurs when the burn has burned passed the skin, and has reached the tissue of your body. Since the nerves have been destroyed in the skin, it is usually painless. The skin becomes dry and leathery, likely to be black, white or brown in color

In the case of a minor burn, insert the burned body part into cool waterDo not put ice directly onto the burn, which would result in further injury. Keep the water tolerable and keep it in the water into the pain stops. Don't put on a bandage, which would slow down healing, and keep an eye out for infection. (Minor burns are usually about 3 inches in diameter and are first to second degree burns)

In the case of a severe burn, call emergency services immediately. (A severe burn would usually be classified as such if the burn covers a large area, and is a third degree burn.)
  • Don't try to manually remove any burned clothing or material from the wound, it will likely cause bleeding. 
  • Apply cool, wet compresses for a short period of time, do not use ice or put the burn into cool water for extended periods of time.
  •  Cover the burned area with cool moist sterile bandages.
  •  If possible, keep area of burn elevated above the heart.
More Tips:
  • Wash your hands before touching any burns or wear gloves if possible
  • Use only clean pure cold water, and sterile clean cloths when used to make contact with the burn
  • Don't ever directly apply ice to the burn. Cover the ice with sterile towels/cloths or such.

Protip: Stop making chili.