Burn injury

First Aid for Burn Injuries

A step-by-step guide

When a burn injury occurs every second counts! Refresh your skills with this step-by-step guide so you can act without hesitation if a burn injury occurs at your workplace.

1. Stop the burning process

Remove clothing and jewelry near the burn, but do not remove anything stuck to the skin since it can cause more damage.

2. Immediately cool the burn

Immediately start to cool the burn injury and keep cooling for 15-20 minutes, to limit the burn and prevent it from getting worse. Cool the burn with running lukewarm water (20-28 degrees), cooling burn gel compresses or a clean wet cloth.

3. Only cool the injury – Not the whole body

It’s critical to avoid cooling the whole body since it can lower the body temperature to a dangerously low temperature (below °35 C) and cause the severe condition of hypothermia.

4. Keep the person warm and dry

Keep the person warm and dry after cooling the burn

5. Seek medical attention for:

  • Burns larger than the palm of the injured person’s hand
  • Burns in sensitive parts like hands, feet, face, genitals and joints
  • Third degree burns or deep injuries
  • Burns that cause white, black or charred skin or if you lose feeling in the area
  • All chemical burns and electrical burns
  • Burn injuries inflicted on children or elderly

6. Protect the burn

Keep the burn injury clean and dry

Classification of burn injuries

Burn injuries can be classified in different degrees depending on their severity and depth.

First-degree burns (Superficial burns)

Superficial and affect only the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). The skin is red, swollen and sore, and with no blisters. It can for example be a mild sunburn.

Second-degree burns (partial thickness burns)

Deeper and goes down into the skin’s lower layer (the dermis). The burn can appear red, blistered and may be swollen and painful. The injured person often experiences severe pain.

Third-degree burns (full thickness burns)

Affect all layers of the skin plus underlying tissues. The remaining skin may look white, blackened or charred. There is no sensation in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed. Skin transplantation is required.

 

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