First Aid: Burns


Burns are a constant of life. Everyone will get burned several times in their life time. Usually this is accomplished by the sun by causing sun burn. A simple burn that usually heals in a few days. You get slight discomfort but you are never really effected by it. However burns can be very serious and depending on the severity of the burn you can either lose a limb or even cause death. Treating burns is typically very easy. First aid for burns is typically characterized into four categories, First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree, and Chemical burns. Each type is dealt with in a different way, the reason is as the severity of the burn increases the chances of serious infections, and complications arise quickly. Knowing how to deal with burns is a skill that is crucial for combat medics, and DIY Moms.


First Degree Burns First Degree Burns are the most common type of burn. From sun burns to just touching something hot, first degree burns are very easy to deal with. First degree burns are simple to deal with because the damage is on the top layer of skin. The worst first degree burn will simply have blister(s). First degree burns turn bright red on the effected area, and in order to soothe the burned area you can gently rub lotion on the effected area. Aloe Vera lotion is the best lotion to use. Avoid lotions with lots of oil in it. 220px-Burn_Degree_Diagram.svgTypical healing time for first degree burns is 7 to 10 days.You can also loosely wrap the effected area with a light cloth to help protect the area. First Degree burns are easy to deal with because your body will heal itself.

Second Degree Burns Second Degree Burns are more severe than first degree burns because the second layer of skin is now effected. Second degree burns are probably the most painful of all burns. The second layer of skin is full of nerve endings and therefore when the extreme heat needed hits this area you feel a great deal of pain. Second degree burns are going to be more difficult to handle because of the amount of damage to the skin that is present. Once a burn begins to become a second degree this means that the effected tissue is running out of water to cool itself. The tissue is becoming burn and begins to seriously discolor, typically turning a gray to black color. The pain is intense and the skin may even break open. Second degree burns are dangerous because the top layer of skin has become compromised and the second layer of skin is susceptible to infection now. This makes performing first aid more difficult. The first step is handle the damaged skin. Using a burn cream to help save as much tissue as possible from the damaged area. Once the tissue has been conditioned it is very important to cover the second degree burn to help prevent infection. Remember the top layer of tissue has been compromised and as such you need to protect the lower layers of skin. Wrap the effected area with a loose light cloth and then wrap it again with another cloth. Second degree burns are extremely dangerous and you should find a doctor as soon as possible.

Third Degree Burns Third Degree Burns are the most serious burns to deal with. Unlike first or second degree burns, third degree burns usually have no pain associated with them. All layers of skin have been effected and the nerve endings in the different layers have been burned beyond repair. Third degree burns are the most dangerous to have to be with because the body is now open to attack from infection with no way of repelling it. Typically third degree burns will require skin grafts to heal. Unfortunately the only people who are thoroughly trained to handle third degree burns are of course doctors. However there are a few things you can do to help the burn victim survive. First try and keep them awake. The human body wants to shut down after severe trauma has occurred. Keep the victim as awake as possible until you can reach a trauma team.

Now if you are by yourself, or a great deal away from a hospital then the next step is to cover the burn area. You should be very careful when dealing with 3rd degree burns because the skin is extremely damaged. Thus if you touch the skin it can come off. So be very careful when dealing with 3rd degree burns. Again in order to save the persons life, a third degree burn victim needs to get to a burn unit at a hospital as soon as possible.

Chemical Burns Chemical Burns can be very difficult to deal with. First off when chemicals that can cause burns are around you, make sure that the area you are in has the proper neutralizing chemicals or wash station near by. Chemicals need to be dealt with in a different way because some chemicals will not stop burning until you neutralize it.

A good example of chemical burns is acid. Most acids react violently to water so putting water on a acid burn may not be the best idea. White Phosphorus for example will keep burning until you remove it from the host. Clorox on the other hand can be diluted with water.

First Aid for chemical burns are pretty simple, first remove or neutralize the containment. Then dress the wound with a light cloth. Your body will do the rest.

You should seek attention from a doctor for chemical burns quickly. A chemical burn can go from 1st degree to 3rd degree very quickly. You should always be careful with chemicals but you should also always know how to neutralize the chemicals you are using as well.


Fourth Degree Burns Fourth degree burns do exist. However for first aid purposes there is nothing you can do for fourth degree burns. These burns are so serious because if you have one you are probably dead, or going to die. They are extremely serious and whatever area has it, that area of your body is now lost, so there is nothing you can do with out proper hospital medical attention.

Remember that burns can become serious for more reasons that just damaged tissue. From serious infections, to dehydration burns will cause major complications. For minor burns like sun burn or any first, or slight 2nd degree burn you should seek a doctors advice. For more severe burns such as dark colored 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or chemical burns you should seek medical attention immediately.

As Always Folks: Prepare and Survive Todd Out.


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