TREATMENT FOR BURNS AND SCALDS is an important part of First Aid training. It can mean the difference between life and death in the case of life threatening burns.
A scald is tissue damage caused by hot water. A burn is tissue damage from a more direct heat source, such as a stove or an iron, or the sun. It can also be caused by contact with electricity, or chemicals.
Burns and scalds can result from a wide range of causes. Some common ones include:
Superficial burns or scalds affect the outer layer of your skin, causing redness and pain, sometimes blistering.
Deeper burns often exhibit mottled shades of red and white, also with blisters on the skin, and the pain is also pronounced.
Extreme burns — known as full thickness burns — cause damage all the way to the layer of fat beneath the skin. They can appear brown, white or even black, and have a leathery and dry feel to the touch. A full thickness burn can damage or destroy nerve cells, so pain might not be felt.
Remove the source of the burn.
With all burns and scalds, run cool water over the skin for a minimum of 20 minutes. This is critical to stop the burn becoming worse. Never use ice on a burn, just water. Remove clothing that’s near the burn but, if any clothing that is stuck to the burn should not be removed.
After running cool water over it, cover the burn with a light, non-stick dressing. Avoid using any material that is fluffy. Cling-wrap plastic makes a great cover. For burns on an arm or leg, raise the limb up to help reduce swelling.
Call an ambulance or go straight to the emergency department if the any of the following has occurred:
After a deep burn or scald, complications can lead to sepsis, a blood infection, scarring, and even damage to bones or joints.
Accredited First Aid training is highly recommended if you’d like to build your confidence in treating and managing burns and scalds.
Tips to prevent burns or scalds occurring in the home: