Introduction to Burns
Burns are a common occurrence in our everyday lives, whether they are caused by a hot oven door, the sun or something much more serious. Burns can be classified into three categories:
• 1st Degree Burns – These are the least serious types of burns but are often still painful. This type of burn only affects the outer layer of the skin and does not penetrate the skin’s second layer.
• 2nd Degree Burns – Second degree burns affect both the top and the second layer of the skin. This type of burn can cause swelling, severe pain and often blisters.
• 3rd Degree Burns – These are the most serious type of burns and can cause permanent skin damage and nerve damage. They can also affect the muscles and fat and will require immediate medical attention.
Treatment for Burns
Every type of burn will need some form of treatment. If the burn is first or second degree and is smaller than three inches it is recommended to place the burn under cold running water for a minimum of five minutes. Cold water should continue to be used until the pain subsides. This will reduce any swelling. An antibiotic cream or aloe vera gel should then cover the affected area and depending on the area a non-stick gauze bandage should be applied on top.
First degree burns that are large or cover a major joint and second degree burns over three inches in size should be looked at by a doctor immediately. Any type of third degree burn will require immediate medical treatment. It is important to remember that ice should never be used as a treatment for burns as this can cause frost bite and seriously damage the area. Butter and oil is also best avoided as it can trap heat in causing further problems.
Skin burns are not to be taken lightly and even if you perform the correct treatment for burns, problems can still arise. When skin burns it loses its ability to protect the body leading to a higher risk of infection. It is important to keep the burn clean throughout the healing process in order to prevent this. If after treatment for the burn a lot of pain is still present or if there are signs of infection it is important to seek medical help. A medical team will know the best way to treat your burn and any complications that have arisen since the accident happened.