Burns

An Article by Worsley Training – First Aid Trainers in and around Wiltshire

burn

If someone gets burnt, immediately remove them from the heat source.  If you see any clothing on fire then help the person to drop to the ground and smother any flames that you see with a blanket or coat, and then get them to roll around with their hands protecting their face to make sure that all flames are fully extinguished.  It is important to remember not to remove any clothing that has become stuck to the burnt area of skin, as that could cause more damage and injury.

Once they are safe, flush the affected area either directly or through any burnt clothing with cool running water for at least 10 minutes until the burnt area has completely cooled down.  A common misconception is that the water has to be cold to treat a burn. However if it is too cold, you won’t be able to hold the skin under the water for long enough as it will become painfully numb.  As long as the water is cooler than the burn it will be drawing out the heat, but always make sure you keep the rest of the casualty warm and comfortable.

If there is no water available to treat somebody who has been burnt, any harmless liquid can be used instead.  Critically though do not use any lotions, ointments or creams, or believe any old wives’ tales such as using butter to soothe a burn. These will make the burn worse and do more damage than good.

Once the burn has cooled down, cover the area with a non-sticky dressing such as cling film, a clean plastic bag or a non-fluffy bandage.  Then seek medical attention depending on how serious the burn is.  You can either call 111 for advice, take the casualty to A&E with cold wet cloths over the cling film to keep it cool, or call 999 for an ambulance.  Sometimes blisters will form and if so please don’t pop them, as that will open up the area to infection and make it very painful. The good news is that blisters will vanish by themselves in a few days.