Burns

Burn injuries can happen anywhere, anytime in our daily lives.

But are we all prepared for these situations?
 "What now? Cooling, and then?"

 

Depending on the situation and severity there are a few rules everyone has to know, when it comes to burn injuries. Smart and quick-thinking are important and can prevent severe consequences.

Furthermore, kids have to be told about the danger of fire. Especially because of their size (flames at face level) and their thin skin burns can cause severe damage.

 

1) Extinguishing and avoiding further damage

  • Be sure to always have a
  1. blanket (no synthetic material!)
  2. bucket of sand
  3. extinguisher

nearby in order to extinguish flames as fast as possible.
When using an extinguisher, never aim on the head and the face.
Avoid using carbon dioxide extinguisher on living beings, since these are creating extremely low temperatures

  • Remove objects from the body, which can get hot quickly and cause additional pain and damage (jewelry, electric devices)
  • Do not remove garments, when sticking to the body —> consult a physician

2) Cooling

Immediately after the injury it is recommended to cool down the burnt skin with cool water (do not use ice!). For small injuries (<5% of the body surface) this suffices as a first measure. Large skin damage (>5% of the body surface) need to be treated by a physician. More severe injuries should not be cooled completely as it would lead to a too low body temperature.

KEMSA Blog Burns

 


3) Covering and keeping warm

If the situation allows it, try to cover the wound with a sterile bandage or compress. Do not apply creams, powders or antiseptics.

While waiting for medical treatment, the victim/victims should be covered with a blanket, towel or something similar to prevent a loss of temperature.

Also do not leave victims (especially children) alone, check their vital parameters regularly and help in case of a hypovolemic shock.


4) Severity level 

The skin has several layers (see the picture below). When the skin burns, it is graded according to how many skin layers are involved. This is why burns are graded according to severity of skin damage, and thus evaluated for treatment.

 

Burns Kemsa Blog
KEMSA Blog Burns

1        redness, pain, swelling, dry skin

KEMSA Blog Burns

2A     blisters with red subsurface,

swelling, severe pain

2B     blisters with light subsurface, moderate till severe pain

KEMSA Blog Burns

3       white /grey and leathery skin area, almost painless

4      black, charred with eschar, painless


5) Medical treatment

The level 1 burn can be treated at home and heals after approximately
7-10 days. Consider to visit a physician, if the burn affects a large skin area. Use ointments and creams in the following days to moisturize the skin.

In some cases, scars are not avoidable and are associated with chronic pain. Finally, do not underestimate emotional damage (especially children). Fellows /parents need to give them an increased attention in these times in particular.

Burns of level 2A cause blisters, as further skin layers are damaged. Some of these blisters can open and gives the burn a wet appearance. Try to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infections.  The healing time can vary and can take up to 3 weeks.

 

KEMSA Blog Burns

Level 2B, 3 and 4 belong in the hands of a physician. Here, sufficient analgesia and the management of fluid loss have priority. The prevention of following infections are also important, same as necessary operative interventions (e.g. removing necrotic/destroyed skin or replacing skin areas with implants).

 

KEMSA Blog Burns
KEMSA Blog Burns
KEMSA Blog Burns

In some cases, scars are not avoidable and are associated with chronic pain. Finally, do not underestimate emotional damage (especially children). Fellows /parents need to give them an increased attention in these times in particular.

 


http://www.healthline.com/health/burns
Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung Volume 28 2015
http://www.knowyourownskin.com.au/understanding-skin/layers-of-the-skin/ http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Burn