What does a first degree burn look like?
  • Actually it looks like a sunburn. In fact a sunburn is a type of first degree burn.
  • A first degree burn involves only the first layer of skin, and is pink to red in appearance. If you press down on the burn with your finger, not only will the patient wince a bit, and maybe even poke you back, but you'll find that the spot you poked will turn pale white, and will then return to red.
  • There is of course some pain involved with a first degree burn, and a small amount of swelling. Usually a first degree burn will heal in about 3-5 days, and can most often be treated at home.
What about a second degree burn?
  • A second degree or partial thickness burn is bright pink to cherry red in appearance, much like the first degree. However, since the second layer of skin is also partially involved, the skin will also take on a moist, weepy appearance, and will involve blistering of the skin.
  • The patient will find their burn to be very painful, and you can expect a greater amount of swelling than with a first degree burn.
  • Because of the deeper involvement of skin, a second degree burn, depending on its severity, will take anywhere from 10-21 days to heal.
  • A deep partial thickness burn may even require skin grafting. This would make for a lengthy recovery period.
What characterizes a third degree burn?
  • A third degree or full thickness burn, is most often dry and leathery, and can be tan, charred, or even white in appearance. This is an extremely serious burn as both layers of skin are destroyed, and may even involve muscle, fat, or bone.
  • The patient will not feel much, or even any pain. That's because the nerves which exist in the second layer of skin, are destroyed as well.
  • Whereas skin can grow up from the dermis (or second layer of skin) in the case of the first and second degree burn, there is no dermis left for the skin to regenerate from in a third degree burn. That's why in almost all cases; third degree burns will require skin grafts.
  • Recovery from a third degree burn can be extensive.
How do I treat a burn?
  • The most important thing is to stop the burning immediately. Get the affected area under cool running water, or submerge it in cool water for 15 minutes. If water is unavailable, a cold clean compress (not ice) can also be used.
  • Remember, the skin will keep burning, and damage will intensify, even after it's removed from the heat source, unless it's cooled down right away!
  • Never use ice, butter, lotions, or ointments on a fresh burn.
  • Remove any clothing from the burn site, unless the clothing is stuck to the burn. Never try to pull stuck clothing from a burn.
  • Be sure to remove any jewelry, belts, or anything that is metal or constricting from the burn site, or its surrounding area before swelling occurs.
  • After soaking the area in water, cover it with a clean, (preferably sterile) dry, loose fitting cloth. This will keep air off the area, which will lessen the pain, and protect the damaged skin.
  • Consider elevating the affected area to minimize swelling.
  • To further minimize swelling, and relieve pain, aspirin or ibuprofen can be taken as directed.
  • Never break blisters. This is the body's way of healing, and protecting itself from infection.
  • If the burn is serious, lay the patient down if possible, and keep them warm until medical help arrives.
For a chemical burn
  • Carefully remove any items of clothing that are contaminated with chemicals, without spreading it to unaffected areas.
  • Flush and dilute the chemicals, while cooling the burn area with cold water for at least 20 minutes, or until medical help arrives.
For an electrical burn
  • You must remove the power source from the patient before treating them. Don't touch the patient until you can safely do this, or you will also be electrocuted. This may involve shutting off the main power switch in the home, or building.
When do I need to see a doctor?

You should seek medical attention for:
  • Any burn patient under 12 years old.
  • A first degree burn that covers a large percentage of the body.
  • Any second degree burn larger than the size of the patient's palm. If the burn is smaller, and you're concerned, consult a doctor as well.
  • A third degree burn of any size.
  • Any burn that involves the head, hands, feet, buttocks, a major joint, or groin area. A doctor should also see a burn that wraps around the circumference of a body part.
  • Any chemical, electrical, or inhalation burn.
  • If signs of infection, fever, dehydration, or uncontrollable pain develop.
  • If a burn doesn't heal in 2 weeks.
  • If in doubt, get it checked out!

How can I prevent my child from being burned?

For young children, scalds are the leading source of burn injuries, and quite often they're the easiest to prevent. So let's take a look around the house to see what we can do to make our home safer.

  • Always turn pot handles inwards on the stove, so that they can't be bumped or upset by anyone walking by. Also use the back burners on the stove, as they're harder for children to reach.
  • Whenever you handle hot liquids, whether it's pouring water from the kettle, or walking with a hot food, or a cup of coffee, make sure that little people aren't at your feet.
  • Use electrical outlet covers, and keep electrical chords away from children.
  • Keep hot curling irons, clothes irons, toasters, portable heaters, barbecues, matches and lighters, either out of children's reach, or safely guarded when in use.
  • Teach your children that if they find matches and lighters to give them to grown-ups right away.
  • Never leave your kids alone in the kitchen, where they can be burned, or in the bathroom where they can be scalded, or drown.
  • Don't let your children out of the house in the summer until you've covered their exposed skin with a 30 plus sunblock, and they have a hat to protect their heads from heat and sunstroke
What First Aid should be given in Burn ?

In case of a minor burn, hold the burnt part under the running tap water till the burning pain stops. Take the patient to his family physician who will advise treatment. Don't remove clothing from the patients body. Pour water on the burnt area. Application of ice to the burnt area is soothing. Don't apply ghee, oil or ointment. Continue First Aid during transport. Don't give anything to eat until the doctor has seen him/her. Give water to drink.
How to prevent from Burns ?

“Prevention is better than cure”
. Form the habit to handle fire safely, be safety conscious, prevent burns and in case anyone is burnt, remeber to pour water on the burn surface immediately. Water is the best first aid in Burns.
Why not to use Blanket for a person who has got a burn?

Blanket traps the heat within and it continues its damaging action even on the deeper layer of the skin and as a result more damage & severer the damges, lesser the chances of survival.