Monday, July 30, 2007

First aid for burns

It is indeed astonishing to see many adults come in to the pharmacy, without any basic knowledge of first aid to the most common household accidents.

It's winter here and naturally many homes are warmed up with ducted heatings, heaters, or column heaters. If you have got small children, it is advisable not to use bar radiators as they are the least effective and the floor models are the primary factor in many fires and contact burns. But in the nutshell, choose wisely. I have a column oil filled heater in Aidan's room, and at the minimum temperature, it is safe to touch.

One customer came in with a burn on his leg. He said it backed into a heater. I took a look at it, and the burn was somewhat wet and shiny. I asked him what he applied, and he said vaseline.

Now everyone!

  • The first thing you do is to run cool water over the burned area and/or apply cool wet compresses until the pain subsides or lessens.
  • Contrary to the beliefs of some old wives tales' do not apply any oil, butter, vaseline or any kind of grease. This will 'seal' the heat and do more damage to the skin.
  • Also do not use ice packs as this will damage the nerve tissues.
  • When the burn is cool, apply burn ointment, pure aloe vera gel or calendula gel.
  • For pain relief, give paracetamol or ibuprofen when needed.
  • Check the burn wound daily for signs of infections, such as oozing, increased pain, swelling or fever. Go to the doctor immediately as you may need some medicine if it is infected.

The above is a general guide only for superficial burns that does not require a doctor's care. Many burns happen at home, and the kitchen is one of the main sources of burns. Use the back burners of your stove for cooking if you have little children running around at home. Pot handles should be turned inwards and buy some stove knob covers to prevent potentially harmful accidents such as burns or gas leaks.

And the last but not least advice on this post. If someone's clothing is on fire...

Stop, Drop and Roll. Do not run as it will help fan the flames. Cover face with hands and drop face down. Roll, roll and roll until the fire is extinguished.

Read my post in May and watch this video. You might just learn something new today.

Disclaimer: This information is not to be used as medical advice or substituted for treatment by your health care provider


J@n!ce said...

Thanks for sharing the useful tips :)

AceOne118 said...

Very informative indeed. Tenkiu lu!

Jonny said...

It was only a few months back when I got scalded by hot water. I've never been so careless in my life so I didn't know what to do.

I soaked my thumb (only affected part) in a bowl of water until my colleague saw it and decided to go down the chinese medicine store and got me some ointment.

After applying it my thumb still stings, but after 2 hours it became better. In the end I don't even have blisters, amazing.

Sweetpea said...

janice and yinsi - pleasure.

jonny - thats's great. at least you don't have to be out of action :P if it's your right hand thumb am sure u can't press the space bar! :P

Simple American said...

Vaseline is horrible for everything. I don't like petroleum products for anything. Well except gas in the car.

Hey you might know better if I am messing up. I always put vanilla extract on 3rd degree burns. It always cools it off. But does it do something bad I might not be aware of?

Sweetpea said...

SA - haha, never heard of this remedy so far. but if it didn't do anything bad, then it's doing something good? wow! 3rd degree burn still at home fixing it yourself?

Simple American said...

Did I get my burns mixed up? I just meant the kind that have not blistered. Like a sunburn. I might have got them backwards in retrospect. Big burns better go to the doc for sure.

Sweetpea said...

SA - haha, yes. there are 4 degree of burns. first being the least serious and most common.

2nd degree extends into deeper layers of the skin.

3rd degree are the most severe burns and are considered a medical emergency as it damages the skin layer along with nerve endings.

4th degree are burns that extend down to the bone.