CLASSIFY THE BURN BEFORE TREATMENT; wikiHow
Determine the severity of the burn. The severity of the burn will determine what treatment is best.
First-degree burn. This is the most common, and least severe burn. The skin will look somewhat red and the burn will be painful and very sensitive to the touch. This kind of burn only involves the outer layer of skin (the epidermis), and is commonly the result of sunburn (or tanning bed burn).
Second-degree burn. Second-degree burns are much more painful than first degree burns and are usually accompanied swelling and blisters. A bad sunburn or a sunburn on someone with very light skin my rise to the level of a second-degree burn. Second-degree burns are also common in the kitchen—splattered hot oil, or an accidental bump of the stove or oven electrical elements can fry skin in an instant.
* Second degree burns occur when the epidermis has been burned through and the second layer of skin (the dermis) has also been burned.
* The blisters are yellow in color and will pop on their own with new skin developing underneath (after the layer of crackly film breaks off). Second-degree burns related to the sun may or may not swell.
Third-degree burn. One of the most severe type of burns, third-degree burns occur when all the layers of the skin are burned through and the burn has reached the underlying tissue. The skin may appear stiff and leathery in appearance, and may appear waxy white. Damage to the nerves can also occur and numbness can develop in the area.
Fourth-degree burn. Depending on the extent of nerve damage, there may be no pain at all and the area will look blackened or charred. This is the most severe form of a burn which reaches beyond the underlying tissue into the muscle, nerves and bones.
Chemical burn. Most chemical burns are caused by the common acids and alkali used in industry. The burn appears gray to brown in color, due to the chemically broken down protein on the skin. Chemical burns are deeper than they first appear which indicates ongoing injury. Also, the degree of tissue damage takes longer to identify due to an increase in depth after 13 to 24 hours.
Treatment of Minor Burns
Administer first aid to treat your injury. First degree and second degree burns that are fewer than three inches in diameter are generally considered minor burns. These types of burns usually heal quickly with minimal care. Follow these steps to administer first-aid for minor burns.
Cool the burned area. Run cool (not cold) water over the area for 10 to 15 minutes. Immerse the burn in cool water if running water is not available. Do not put ice directly on the burn, as this can cause further damage to the skin.
Do not put on a bandage. Bandages will cut off air, making the wound take longer to heal.
Take an analgesic (pain reliever). Any of the common over-the-counter pain relievers will work. These include aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen.
Wrap the wounded area loosely with clean dry gauze. The gauze protects the burn from air, debris, dirt and contamination. Use a non-stick dressing to prevent sticking to the injury on a second-degree burn.
* You should change the dressing every day, wash the wound gently and reapply lotion or aloe as needed to prevent infection. Wash your hands before treating the burn.
Look out for signs of infection. Infection is uncommon with burns of this type, but is possible if blisters occur.
Treatment of Major Burns
See a doctor immediately. Second-degree burns covering a larger area, third or fourth-degree burns and any significant burns on the face, hands, feet, groin, or a large joint (e.g., knee or elbow) should be treated as major burns. With all major burns, seek medical help as soon as possible. Follow the steps below to care for these burns until you can get the injured person into the care of a doctor.
Call for emergency services immediately.
Do not remove any embedded charred clothing or material. Removing clothing from burned areas is likely to cause bleeding. However, if not stuck to the burn, you should remove jewelry and unburned clothing if may constrict the burned area.
Apply cool, wet compresses to the burned area for a very brief period of time.. This will reduce body temperature somewhat. However, do not use ice or immerse the affected area in cold water for extended periods of time.
Be prepared to treat the burn victim for shock. Look for shock symptoms: weak, rapid pulse, clammy skin, disorientation or unconsciousness, nausea, combativeness.
* If possible, elevate the burn above the heart. This procedure will assist in reducing the likelihood or severity of shock.
Remain calm. Stay with the victim until help arrives.
Treatment of Chemical Burns
Clean the wound. Use a brush to sweep off any powder or dry chemical if present.
Flush the affected area. Use cool, running water to flush chemicals off your body.
Remove potential irritants. Take off any jewelry or clothing that has had contact with the chemical.
4. Protect the burned area. Wrap the burn with a clean cloth or a dry, sterile bandage.