If you or your child has had an accident and had a burn or scald, you must provide first aid immediately. Burns and scalds can be of varying degrees, like First-Degree Burns, Second-Degree Burns or Third-Degree Burns and each of them require special treatment. Here are some first aid tips to help you treat burns and scalds.
If your toddler accidentally spills a pot of hot coffee, tea or water on himself and his skin turns red don’t think that no harm has been done. Approach a doctor and let him decide about the nature and degree of the burn.
Immediate treatment for minor burns
The first thing to do is to stop the burning and avoid any further damage. You do this by removing anything that is soaked in the scalding liquid and then afterwards cool the burnt area with cool running water.
For small burns
Put your child’s finger under running tap water for at least two minutes. The pain will decrease and you will be able to see the actual damage. Then pat dry the area. Never apply butter cream or any other kind of grease or ointment. Though you may be tempted to break the blister but don’t. Cover the area with a non adhesive dressing or a sterile gauze, something that doesn’t leave fibre strands on the burned spot. Reassure your child and warn him not to be careless in the future. Also remove any jewellery, watch or clothing from the affected area so they do not stick to the skin.
Coping with larger burns
If your child spills hot oil or a boiling kettle on himself treat the larger burn as you would a minor one. But as soon as you have cooled down the burnt area, wrap it up with a non fluffy cloth, like a handkerchief or a small bed sheet. Take the child to a hospital as soon as possible to avoid any complications.
Serious burns or third-degree burns need special and immediate attention as they also involve the nerves and blood vessels under the skin.
If the worst happens
If your child’s clothes catch fire and he is screaming with pain, smother the flames that are burning him by wrapping a blanket, coat or curtain around him. Never try to put off the flames with your hands as it will only make matters worse. Take every measure to avoid your child from panicking or running as any kind of movement will only fan the flames. The best thing to do is to drop the casualty to the ground and roll him until the flames smother.
Never use any kind of lotion or adhesive on burns as that can cause further skin damage and increase the risk of infections. Serious burns need the attention of health experts as the person may go in shock after the accident. Patients of third-degree burns are also at a great risk of getting dehydrated, and the lost body fluid has to be replenished with liquids and fluid drip replacements.
For more first aid information, be sure to read our post for basic first aid tips.