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How to Treat Burns

You may get burns by various sources and it can badly affect your overall health. Here are some treatment options, which help you understand how to treat burns.
In your lifetime, you may face many kinds of accidents; of which burns may be very common. Various sources can be a cause of burns; amongst which, the most common are hot objects, hot liquids, steam, chemicals, electricity, fire and the sun. For diagnostic and treatment purpose, burns are classified into different categories. To understand about how to treat burns, you need to distinguish between minor and severe burns and for that, you should determine the degree and severity of body tissue damage.

What are categories of burns?
There are three categories of burns such as first-degree burn, second-degree burn as well as third-degree burn.
  • The first-degree burn is the one in which outer layer of skin, known as epidermis, is damaged. Along with reddening, skin may be swollen and sometimes painful. This kind of burn generally involves substantial portions of feet, hands, face, major joints and groin or buttocks.
  • The second-degree burn involves epidermis as well as dermis (the second layer of the skin). The blisters are developed and skin appears extremely red and splotchy. This type of burn may typically result in severe pain and swelling.
  • All layers of skin are damaged due to the third-degree burn, which is considered as the most serious burn. It can also lead to permanent tissue damage as well as damage to the muscles and bones. The burned areas may appear white and dry or may be charred black. If a person inhales the smoke, then he/she may suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning, difficulty in inhaling and exhaling and some other toxic effects.
How to treat burns?
Although minor burns can be easily treated, you should opt for immediate care or hospitalization in case of severe burns. Knowing about how to treat burns can help you understand different treatment options for mild and severe burns in order to avoid infections and further complications.

How to treat mild burns ?
To treat the first-degree burns, you may soak in or hold under cool water for about five minutes and then dab it dry using a soft, clean towel. It may be followed by an application of aloe vera cream or gel or an antibiotic ointment. Avoid applying ice as it can lead to frostbite, which in turn can damage the skin. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to relieve swelling and pain of first-degree burn.

For the second-degree burn, you should soak the burn in cool water for about 15 minutes and apply cold cloth on it for few minutes. An application of antibiotic cream can help prevent the infection. You may also apply a dry, clean medical bandage; a non-stick cotton bandage is preferable. This bandage should be daily changed and the burn should be cleaned with water and anti-bacterial soap. There may be formation of fluid-filled blisters by the body in order to prevent infection. Don't break these blisters; let them resolve on their own. If you notice signs of infections such as redness, increased pain, fever, oozing or swelling, then opt for medical treatment.

How to treat major burns ?
The answer to your query "how to treat burns" is not very problematic with many effective remedies available these days. It is essential to seek emergency medical care for major burns. Until you get the medical assistance, you may follow these steps:
  • Avoid removing the burnt clothes making sure that the victim is not exposed to heat or smoke.
  • You should never immerse large, severe burns in cold water as it may result in shock.
  • You should check for the signs of circulation such as coughing, breathing or movement. If these signs of circulation are absent, then start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Burnt body parts should be raised above the heart level as far as possible.
  • Cover the area of burn using a moist, cool, sterile bandage, or moist towel, or moist, clean cloth.
Tips for treating chemical burns
Clean the chemical burns under running cold water in order to totally flush the chemicals off your body. If the chemical is in a powder-form, then it should be removed using a brush before you flush with water. Ensure that clothing or jewelry is removed and is not in contact with the chemical.

If there is a continuous burning sensation even after washing the area, then repeat flushing with cold, running water for several minutes. After that, wrap the burned area using a sterile gauze bandage.

Prevention of burns is very important rather than later on treating it, as it can leave several adverse effects on your body. You need to be very careful while handling the sources responsible for burns.
By Reshma Jirage
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