Burns: Distinction & First Aid

Burns are skin lesions that are mainly due to heat (thermal burns). They can also be due to chemicals (chemical burns), radiation (eg sunburn) and other causes. In the past, the terms first, second or third degree burns were used to classify burns.

 

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Today, however, doctors make the following distinction:

Partial thickness burns that are divided into superficial and deep burns.

Total thickness burns when all the skin up to the adipose tissue has been damaged.

A problem with burns is the increased likelihood of infection of the burn surface which requires specialized antibiotic treatment and close monitoring of the burn, as well as, on a daily basis, changes and treatment of the burn surface.

 

First aid for the burn victim:

  • Carefully remove belts, fitted clothing and tight jewelry.
  • Do not forcibly remove burnt and stuck clothes on the burn. Leave them as they are.
  • Cool and rinse the burned area with water or liquid saline compresses for at least 10 minutes. Repeat the same if the pain comes back.
  • Do not feed the burn victim.
  • Do not use ice or other medicines.
  • Do not touch the burn with bare hands.
  • Give the burn victim often, with a spoon, small amounts of water.
  • Place the burn victim in a quiet, cool place and cover him with a cool sheet.
  • Record the exact time of the accident and call the doctor.

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