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Health > First Aid >Burns

First aid for burns

What are burns?

* Injuries due to heat/ chemicals/ electricity/ radiation

* Common heat injuries due to fire, hot liquids, steam

* Burns due to heat / chemicals - through skin contact

* Severe burns affect muscles, fat and bones

* Older people/ children - particularly vulnerable

First-degree burns

* Injuries are superficial / mild

* Swelling& redness of the injured area

* Pain develops

* No blisters seen

* Burned area becomes white on touch

* Takes 3-6 days to heal


* Remove patient from heat source

* Remove the burnt clothing

* Run cool water over burnt area

* Gently clean the injured area

* Gently dry

* Apply anti biotic such as Silver Sulphadiazine

* Use a sterile bandage to cover burns

* Take tetanus vaccination, if required

Second-degree burns

* Burns extends to middle skin layer, dermis

* Swelling, redness and pain observed

* Burnt area may turn white on touch

* Blisters develop, that ooze a clear fluid

* Scars may develop

* Restricts movement, if injury occurs at joint

* Dehydration may occur

* Healing time varies, depends on extent of injury


* Clean the affected area thoroughly

* Gently dry

* Apply antibiotic cream over affected area

* Make the patient lie down

* Keep burnt body part at a raised level

* Skin graft may be required

* Physical therapy may be essential to aid mobility

* Splints may be used to rest affected joints

* Hospitalization is essential

Third-degree burns

* Damage occurs to all 3 skin layers

* Destroys adjacent hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings

* Lack of pain due to destroyed nerves

* Injured area does not turn white on touch

* No blisters observed

* Swelling occurs

* Skin develops leathery texture

* Discoloration of skin observed

* Scars develop

* Crusty surfaces (Eschars) develop-impairs circulation

* Dehydration occurs resulting in shock

* Symptoms may worsen with time

* Disfigurement may result

* Healing depends on extent of injury

* 90% body surface injury results in death v

* 60% injury in elderly, fatal


* Requires immediate hospital care

* Dehydration treated through intravenous fluid supply

* Oxygen is administered

* Eschars are surgically opened

* Periodically run clean cool water over burns

* Nutritious diet helps to heal quickly

* Regular monitoring essential

* Mental Depression treated by anti-depressants


* Install smoke alarm in your home

* Employ 'children friendly' safety measures at home

* Avoid synthetic clothing while cooking

* Carry out fire drills at home and work place

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