Emergency Burn First Aid TreatmentNov 1st, 2011 | By ODAmedic21 | Category: BFTC Featured, Contributing Authors, Medical
When a burn occurs, seconds count! Burn injuries should be cooled immediately, otherwise the heat will continue to destroy the surrounding and underlying tissue, and may progress a partial thickness (second degree) burn into a full thickness (third degree) burn injury. This, in turn, will present serious consequences for the patient and considerable extra cost for the receiving hospital/burn unit.
1. Immediately stop the burning process-seconds count!
2. Cool the burn-don’t over cool the victim.
3. Provide pain relief.
4. Cover and protect the burn area against contamination.
All burns should be treated with concern. It is important to keep in mind the golden rule of burn management: If someone has a burn on his or her body exceeding the size of the palm of his or her own hand, where blisters are present, burns to genitalia, face or to any flexion point, this person should seek medical attention. All electrical burns require medical attention.
More precise treatment depends on Type, Extent and Depth of Injury
TYPE OF INJURY
Experts classify burns into three major types, depending on their cause:
- Thermal-Burns caused by flame, steam, hot liquid or hot metal.
- Electrical-Burns caused by direct contact with electrical current, or the passing of electrical current through the body, including lightning.
- Chemical-Burns caused by direct bodily contact with acids, lye, strong detergents or chemicals, or by inhalation of chemical fumes.
Each kind of burn has unique characteristics, and as a result, appropriate care should be taken for each type of burn.
Procedure for treating Burns
Thermal burns are caused by flame, steam, hot liquid or hot metal. When a thermal burn occurs, seconds count!
- Immediately move the victim from the source of the burn. If the victim’s clothing is still on fire, prevent the burn victim from running, which will only fan the flames. However, standing still makes the ignition of hair and inhalation of flames more likely. Instead, instruct the victim to stop, drop to the ground and roll to extinguish the flames.
- Spray the victim with water or wrap him or her in a blanket, heavy coat or rug to smother any residual flames-or place a Water-Jel Fire Blanket on him or her to extinguish the flames. The U.S. Military uses this method as many times there is not a fire extinguisher available and the water-jel blanket will seep through the soldiers garb and onto the burn.
- If the flames were caused by a flammable liquid, like gasoline, make sure the burned individual avoids further exposure to heat or fire, which could trigger reignition of flames.
- Do NOT put butter, grease, dry dressings, ointments or salves on a burn; experts contend that they don’t cool the burn or relieve the pain, and some may leave behind a greasy residue that must be physically removed if the victim later requires medical attention. Instead, a one-step burn care product, such as Water-Jel First Aid Emergency Burn Dressing, is recommended. This first aid burn dressing from Water-Jel Technologies promptly relieves pain, protects the wound from further contamination, cools the burn and inhibits its progression, and helps promote healing.
- If burned on a clothed area, apply the Water-Jel Burn Dressing or Fire Blanket directly over the burned clothing. The gel will soak through the clothing to cool the burn, relieve the pain and allow easy removal of clothing prior to treatment by a medical professional. If Water-Jel dressings are not easily accessible, quickly remove all burned clothing, as it can continue to be a source of heat even after the fire has been extinguished.
- All burns should be treated with concern. It is important to keep in mind the golden rule of burn management: If someone has a burn on his or her body exceeding the size of the palm of his or her own hand, where blisters are present, burns to genitalia, face or to any flexion point, this person should seek medical attention. All electrical burns require medical attention.
- If practical, elevate a burned extremity above the level of the heart while waiting for medical attention.
- If a clear vein or central IV line maybe started, begin a .9% Saline IV and push steroids (depending on victims weight) to control the swelling in vital areas that are very susceptible to swelling from burns such as the vocal chords.
What are the guidelines for emergency treatment of ELECTRICAL BURNS and recommendations regarding NFPA 70 ARC FLASH?
Electrical burns are caused by direct contact with electrical current or the passing of an electrical current through the body, including lightning.
- Before touching the victim, stop the source of the current, if possible, turn off the source of the power and deactivate the main circuit breaker.
- Use a nonconductive item, such as a wooden broom handle, rope, dry towel or wooden chair, to disengage the victim from the current source.
- Cool the burned area with a one-step burn care product, such as Water-Jel First Aid Emergency Burn Dressing. This first aid burn dressing from Water-Jel Technologies promptly relieves pain, protects the wound from further contamination, cools the burn, reduces its progression and helps promote healing.
- Seek prompt medical attention for all medical burns.
What are the guidelines for emergency treatment of CHEMICAL BURNS?
Chemical burns are caused by direct bodily contact with acids, lye, strong detergents or chemicals, or by inhalation of chemical fumes. When a chemical burn occurs, seconds count!
- Immediately flush the affected areas with large quantities of water. Do not waste time looking for specific antidotes to the chemical that caused the burn and do not take time to remove the victim’s clothing until the flushing process is well underway.
- For a known acid burn, irrigate the area for at least 15 minutes; for a known lye burn, irrigate for one hour.
- Apply a one-step burn care product, such as Water-Jel First Aid Emergency Burn Dressing, to the burn wound. This first aid burn dressing from Water-Jel Technologies promptly relieves pain, protects the wound from further contamination, cools the burn and reduces its progression, and helps promote healing.
- Summon medical help.
EXTENT OF INJURY
The extent of a burn wound is defined as the percentage of total body surface damaged and may be determined by the Rule of Nines. This divides the body into areas of 9% or multiples of nine and is modified for estimating the extent of burn injury in children. (Check the above graphs of burn portions)
DEPTH OF INJURY
The depth of a burn injury refers to the amount of skin, and on some occasions other tissue, damaged or destroyed. Skin has two layers, the superficial epidermis and the deeper dermis that overlies subcutaneous tissue. Burn injuries are defined as Superficial (1st Degree), Partial Thickness (2nd Degree) and Full Thickness (3rd Degree).
Superficial Burn (1st Degree Burn) 112 degrees F
minor damage of the epidermis. red, tender, dry, no blisters i.e., sunburn, heals in three to six days
Partial Thickness Burn (2nd Degree Burn) 140 degrees F
impacts epidermis and dermis, blisters are thick walled and sometimes ruptured color is mixed red and white painful, especially if pressure is applied heals in three to six weeks, potential scarring, may require hospital admission, surgery
Full Thickness Burn (3rd Degree Burn) 158 degrees F
destruction of epidermis and dermis, high risk of infection, loss of temperature control, skin appears white, black, gray, leathery and charred, dry, requires hospital admission, surgery usually skin graphs to repair the damaged tissue. months, years to heal
The Contributing Author: ODAmedic21
US Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant
JFK Special Warfare Center for Medicine
Internships at multiple civilian Trauma Centers
Certified Tactical Medicine Instructor