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Burn Injury Care: What to Do After an Accident

Burn Injury Care: What to Do After an Accident
Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/

Sustaining a burn injury can be a traumatic experience, requiring immediate attention and proper care. Knowing what to do in the critical moments following a burn accident can significantly impact the healing process and minimize potential complications. 

In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps of burn injury care, ensuring you are well-prepared to respond effectively in case of an emergency.

Assessing the Severity of the Burn

When faced with a burn injury, the first step is to assess the severity of the burn. Burns are categorized into three main degrees: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. Understanding the extent of the injury will help determine the appropriate course of action.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are superficial burns that affect only the outer layer of the skin. They are often characterized by redness, mild swelling, and pain. To care for a first-degree burn:

  • Cool the burn: Immediately place the burned area under cool running water for at least 10 minutes to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Apply a soothing agent: After cooling the burn, you can apply aloe vera gel or an over-the-counter burn cream to further soothe the affected area.
  • Protect the burn: Cover the burn with a sterile non-stick dressing or a clean cloth to prevent infection.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns involve damage to both the outer layer of the skin and the underlying layer. These burns are typically characterized by blistering, intense pain, and redness. Here’s how to manage a second-degree burn:

  • Cool the burn: Similar to first-degree burns, cool the burn with running water for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Avoid popping blisters: Do not pop the blisters that form on the burn, as they act as natural barriers against infection.
  • Apply a sterile dressing: Gently place a non-stick sterile dressing over the burn to protect it and promote healing.
  • Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain. However, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate dosage and advice.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burns, involving damage to all layers of the skin and potentially affecting deeper tissues, such as muscles and bones. These burns may appear white, charred, or leathery and are often painless due to nerve damage. Treating third-degree burns requires immediate medical attention:

  • Call emergency services: Dial emergency services or seek immediate medical help. Third-degree burns often require specialized care and should not be treated at home.
  • Protect the burn area: Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth or a sterile non-stick dressing to prevent infection while waiting for medical assistance.
  • Elevate if possible: If the burn is on an extremity, elevate it slightly to help reduce swelling.

Seeking Medical Attention

In many cases, burn injuries will require professional medical attention beyond initial first aid. It is important to seek medical care if:

  • The burn covers a large area or is on a sensitive body part, such as the face, hands, feet, genitals, or major joints.
  • The burn is deep or appears to be third-degree.
  • The burn is caused by chemicals, electricity, or an explosion.
  • The burn shows signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or pus.
  • The burn was caused by inhaling smoke or chemicals.

Post-Burn Care and Recovery

After receiving medical attention, proper post-burn care is crucial for optimal healing and minimizing the risk of complications.

Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Follow medical instructions: Adhere to the treatment plan provided by your healthcare professional and take any prescribed medications as directed.
  • Keep the wound clean: Gently wash the burn area with mild soap and water daily. Avoid scrubbing or using harsh substances that can irritate the wound.
  • Protect from the sun: Shield the healing burn from direct sunlight by covering it with clothing or using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Maintain proper nutrition: A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein can promote healing and boost your immune system.
  • Attend follow-up appointments: Regularly visit your healthcare provider to monitor the progress of your burn and ensure appropriate care.

When it comes to burn injury care, prompt and proper action is vital for optimal healing and minimizing potential complications. 

If you have sustained a burn injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a burn injury lawyer from Friedman & Simon. Burn injury attorneys will be able to fight for your rights and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Featured Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/

Leland D. Bengtson

As a journalist, Leland Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law
reporting. His greatest satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public
in a language that they can understand. He is active on various platforms
and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that people
confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit,
Leland covers plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases,
family law, and other civil and even criminal legal matters.