Basic Burn Care / First Aid Burn Treatment
The important thing to remember when dealing with burn injuries is that you should never underestimate the seriousness of a burn. You should seek medical help if any doubt exists about the seriousness of a burn.
First Aid Burn Treatment
- Stop, drop, and roll if clothes ignite, and cover the face while rolling.
- Cool the burn immediately with cool water to reduce the skin temperature and stop the burning process, numb the pain, and prevent or reduce swelling. Do not use ice on burns as it may decrease the blood supply to the area and may actually make the burn worse.
- Remove burned clothing, metal from belt buckles, etc., as these things can continue to burn if they retain heat. Disposable diapers will especially retain heat. Loosen or remove tight clothing, jewelry, or boots before swelling occurs. If burn is over 30% of the total body surface area, you may have swelling in an area remote from the burn due to fluid shifts, so remove everything that might constrict.
- After cooling the burn with water, cover the burn with a clean dressing to the burn area. If you don’t have a dressing, cover the burn with a clean t-shirt (never a towel, as the fiber can stick in the wound and be painful to remove). People are usually more comfortable if exposed nerve endings are covered, and it is important to keep the burn victim warm.
- Get medical help! Never underestimate the seriousness of a burn!
- For serious burns, don’t give anything to the victim to eat or drink prior to seeking medical attention.
- Elevate burned extremities to reduce swelling.
For a person who is burned around the head, there is danger of an airway injury. He or she must be brought to the hospital immediately if there are singed nasal hairs, burned face, or burns around the mouth. In this case, always keep the head elevated.
The harsh vibrating sound heard during respiration in cases of obstruction of the air passages, also known as "stridor," is a potentially fatal sign.