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First Aid for Florida Burn Injuries

Making the right decisions about burn treatment soon after a burn injury takes place can make all the difference. Burns are a very serious and potentially devastating personal injury, since they can cause disfigurement as well as internal damage. If you see someone who has just sustain a burn, take these steps:

1) Get the victim to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” This will smother any remaining flames.
2) Attempt to remove any clothing that is burned. If the burn is so severe that the clothing sticks to the skin, tear or cut the clothing around the burned area.
3) Remove any necklaces, belts, tight clothing, jewellery and other snug items from the burned areas and the victim’s midsection and neck. Burned areas swell quickly, and any tight clothing or accessories can affect breathing or can even cause choking.

Beyond this basic first aid, you will want to adapt your reaction to a burn injury by considering the type of burn that has been sustained:

1) First-Degree Burns. These burns – which can include sunburns – generally only affect the top layer of skin. Skin that has sustained a first-degree burn may be slightly swollen, red, and painful to the touch. With this sort of burn injury, it is best to apply cool, fresh water or a cold rag to reduce the pain. Once the pain subsides, cover the burn with a clean cloth or non-adhesive bandage. Usually, first-degree burns heal on their won, although over-the-counter pain medication can help make the process less painful. Do avoid applying butter or ointments to the burn, however, as these remedies can lead to infection. Although first-degree burns are not usually considered serious, they can be if the victim is elderly or an infant. First-degree burns that cover a large area of the body should always receive prompt medical attention, no matter what the age of the victim.

2) Second-Degree Burns. These burns affect the first two layers of skin. Signs of a second-degree burn in include pain, blisters, some loss of skin, reddened skin, and a glossy appearance to the skin. These burns should be treated first by having cool compressed or cool water applied to the area. Continue this treatment for 10 to 15 minutes. Elevate arms of legs that are affected by the burn and cover the burned areas with a clean cloth or sterile gauze. Avoid applying ointments and butter and avoid breaking any blisters on the skin. With second-degree burns, you will want to prevent the victim from going into shock. To do this, lay the victim flat, cover him or her with a blanket or coat and elevate his or her legs about one foot. You should not attempt this if the victim may have suffered a head injury, spinal cord injury, neck injury, back injury, or leg injury. If the victim is uncomfortable with legs elevated, do not keep the victim in that position. Someone who has sustained second-degree burns will need further medical treatment right away. The burns will not heal on their own.

3) Third-Degree Burns. This severe burn penetrates the skin and destroys tissue underneath the skin. Signs of third-degree burns include dry and leathery skin, charred skin, and skin with white, brown and black patches. There is often a visible loss of skin layers with a third-degree burn, although a victim will not always feel pain. This sort of burn is considered a serious medical emergency and your first priority is to get paramedics of emergency personnel on the scene. While waiting for help to arrive, you may cover the burn very lightly with a lint-less clean cloth or gauze. Shock is quite common with third-degree burns, so place the victim in shock position – lay the victim flat, elevate feet about twelve inches, and keep the person warm and comfortable. Where possible, elevate the burned areas higher than the victim’s head. As with all burns, avoid applying any ointment or butter to the wound. If the victim’s face has sustained third-degree burns, he or she may have trouble speaking or breathing. Have the victim sit up and watch for possible breathing problems. If it possible that there is an airway burn and you are placing the victim in the shock position, make sure that the victim’s head is flat on the floor. Do not place a pillow under the victim’s head, as this can close the airway.

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