What are burns?

Burns are damage to the skin or injuries caused due to fire, chemicals, extreme dry heat, electricity, or the sun. Wounds sustained by boiling water, steam etc are called scalds. Severe burns affect not only the skin but also the underlying fat, muscles, and bones.In such cases, the injured is likely to suffer from shock, and this requires immediate medical care.

Classification of burn injuries:

Based on the severity of the burn, burn injuries are classified into three categories:

  1. First degree burns- Injuries are mild and superficial affecting only the top layer of the skin.
  2. Second-degree burns – Injuries are more serious as it affects the top 2 layers of the skin. It is characterized by swelling and blisters.
  3. Third-degree burns – The burn injury has spread to all three layers of the skin. The underlying fat, muscle and bone could be affected. The skin may look charred or appear white and dry.

What you should do in case of …?

  1. First degree burns-
  • Run cool water until the burning sensation reduces. You could also immerse the injured part in cool water.
  • Use a sterile bandage to cover the burns
  • Consider taking a tetanus injection.
  1. Second and third degree burns-
  • Safely remove the person from the source of heat.
  • Expose the burned area but do not remove any burned clothing stuck to the skin.
  • Remove jewellery or anything else that is close to the wounded area.
  • Immerse the burned part in cool water. You could also run cool water on the wound for 10 minutes or until the pain subsides.
  • Call for emergency medical help.
  • If blisters have formed, do not try to break them.
  • Cover the injured part loosely with a sterile bandage.
  • Cover the person with a coat or blanket if the wounds are severe.
  • Let the person lie down flat while you elevate his feet 12 inches off the ground. Raise the injured part above the level of the heart.
  • Monitor the person’s breathing and pulse until medical team arrives.
  • Do not apply ice or cold ice water on the burned areas.
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