Burns & Scalds

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Instruction and practical on how to deal with burns and Scalds




Ensure that it is safe for you to approach the casualty (DANGER)
Speak to the casualty, find out what happened, and keep talking to reassure them. (RESPONSE) Remember that burns and scolds can be internal as well as external, ie if something is swallowed or inhaled.
Sit or lie the casualty down
Visually inspect the burn, what caused it: Heat (ie contact with a hot pan), friction (ie badly fitting boots), radiation (ie from the sun), chemical (ie from contact with acid), electrical. How deep is the burn: (1) Superficial - Reddening of the skin (2) Partial thickness - Blisters (3) Full thickness - Very deep and may appear black and charred. How much of the persons body is burn: Their OWN hand is equal to 1% of their body skin area.
Generally the treatment is the same for all burns. COOL, KEEP CLEAN, TREAT FOR SHOCK.
Remove the source of the burn
Burns are very painful. Cool the burnt area with copious amounts of cold running water, external only, for a minimum of 10 minutes. Please note if it is a chemical burn, read the safety label on the chemical. Some chemicals react with moisture, that is why it is burning.
Do not put any bandages or other dressings onto the burn, unless specialist burn dressings. A bandage or clothing will stick to the wound and cause huge amounts of pain when it has to be removed.
Do not remove any clothing that is stuck in the wound.
Do not burst any blisters, this will open the area up to infection.
Do not apply any ointments, creams, oils or butter etc
A very good alternative dressing for burns is cling film; this will help to keep it clean and will not stick.
If the casualty has blisters from boots rubbing, consider applying some blister pads or plasters to protect the area.
Treat for shock.
If the casualty has more than 15% superficial burns, 1% partial thickness burns, any full thickness burns, or any internal burn in the throat, lungs or stomach, immediate hospital treatment is needed. GET IMMEDIATE EXPERT HELP. If you are not sure ask for expert help.
Remember prevention is better than cure. Ensure your boots fit correctly, if you start to develop a hotspot, adjust your socks, boots, and consider plasters early. Protect yourself from sunburn, with sun block and a hat. Take care around stoves, pans and hot food/water.


  • burns
  • first aid
  • scalds

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