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First Aid

All Burns

  • Stop the burning process .
  • Immediately remove all clothing and/or diapers from around the burned area . These will retain heat, hide underlying burns and increase the damage to the skin. If material is stuck to the skin, cool the wound area with cool water and seek medical attention. Jewelry and metal, such as belt buckles and zippers, also need to be removed.
  • Run cool-not cold-water over the burn area for a few minutes.
  • Do not apply ice to the burn. Ice can lower the body temperature and make the burn worse.
  • Do not apply creams, ointments or salves - even "burn creams." Such products may hold heat in the tissue, making the burn deeper.
  • Do not break any blisters unless first instructed by a medical professional.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth, and keep it warm.

Electrical Burns
Electrical burns may be caused by household current, outside power lines, vehicle batteries or lightning.

  • Turn off the power! Protect yourself! Do not go near or touch the victim until you are sure the power has been turned off, the plug has been disconnected from the source or the patient is free from the electricity.
  • Know the location of the main circuit breaker and how to turn off the electricity in your own home.
  • Once the victim is free from the source of the electricity, treat the burns as described above, unless the victim's heart and/or breathing have stopped.
  • Electricity can cause the heart and breathing to stop. If so, CPR may be necessary. Remember your ABCs: Airways, Breathing, and Circulation.

Chemical Burns
Chemical Burns can be caused by contact with many household cleansers, lawn and garden products, fresh cement or other chemicals.

  • Wear appropriate protective garments (gloves, eye protection), gently brush any dry chemicals off the skin.
  • Flush the affected area with running water for at least 20 minutes. If the affected area continues to burn, continue to flush until the pain stops.
  • If the eyes are involved, continue to flush until medical help arrives.
  • Remove any contaminated clothing .
  • Be careful not to expose uninjured body parts or yourself to the chemical.
  • Seek specialized burn attention immediately, even if the burns appear trivial.

To help a body heal from sunburn:

  • Apply cool compresses or take cool baths for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. For small children, who may become easily chilled, keep the water lukewarm.
  • An over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example) may help to decrease the pain. (Aspirin should not be given to young children or to adults using anti-clotting medications).
  • Moisturize affected areas liberally and often with perfume-free, alcohol-free lotion.
  • Drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine.

Call your doctor when the patient:

  • Has severe pain,
  • Has a fever over 101°F (38°C),
  • Is less than 1 year old,
  • Has blisters, especially ones that appear to be infected,
  • Has eye pain,
  • Shows sensitivity to light in the eyes,
  • Looks sick,
  • Is dizzy,
  • Faints when standing,
  • Shows signs of dehydration (dry mouth, no tears when crying, no urine output for eight to ten hours, or dark-colored urine).

Do Not:

  • Apply petroleum jelly, ointment or butter to the sunburn. They make the pain worse and does not allow air to assist in healing.
  • Wash burned skin with harsh soap.
  • Use over-the-counter creams and sprays that may contain benzocaine. Benzocaine may cause an allergic reaction, especially in children.

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