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First Aid basics: “Dealing with a burn”

July 9, 2012

Old wives tales sound familiar when they go something like this …..  “Put butter on a burn?” How about the one with cream? Ummm what were these ladies thinking? Those are sure to cool the areas?

Whatever you do- do not put butter or any oily substance on a burn. Oils retain heat- being completely opposite to what you want to attain.

We often reach for ice- seems like a logical decision. We use it for so many other solutions. Ice, however, is not a good idea either. It can further damage the skin.

The best solution is to use running water, or any other cool running liquid.

Follow these guidelines in the event of a burn. 

  1. Stop the burning process as soon as possible. 
  2. Cool the burn under cool running water for at least ten minutes as soon as you possibly can. (This will reduce pain, swelling and any potential scarring.)
  3. If the burn requires further medical care from a doctor, cover the burn in Cling wrap (avoid wrapping it tightly around though), or a plastic bag. (This is to keep the area clean, and not at risk of further infection.)

DO NOT AT THIS POINT cover the burn with anything else- No adhesive plasters or bandages, no clothes, or material. This will merely stick to the particular wound and cause further damage when having to be removed.

If you are wearing jewelry or clothing, which is close to the wound, remove it. However, do not try to remove anything that is already stuck on the wound.

When to call a doctor or get to a hospital?

  • If a child has been burned
  • If the burn has been caused by chemicals or is an electrical burn
  • The burn blisters
  • The burn affects more than one area of the body, or larger then the size of the person’s hand
  • The burn covers hands, feet, joints or face
  • Underlying tissue is visible

It would also be advisable to take the burn victim to hospital if he/she is pregnant; under 5 years old; has a weakened immune system or a pre-existing medical condition.

Time save lives, Helivac save both.

If you are not already a member of this South African Subscriber driven benefit, find out more now.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2012 11:25 am

    A child (Pippee?)was burned by a chemical gel which “exploded” – can you you tell us anymore bout what it is and how it could “explode” – very worried??

    • July 9, 2012 12:53 pm

      Good Day Charles,

      We tried to get as much info for you as possible but it seems the people in the know reckon its not any more dangerous than other fire starters as long as its being used under adult supervision and under controlled circumstances. My personal opinion would be that any kind of fuel/agent thats contained in a container could explode if it has a trigger like heat,sparks or a flame. As for the incident with Pippee we do NOT know what lead to this incident but we are ecstatic to read that her recovery is excellent!
      I am sorry we could not be of more assistance

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