Treating Burns

I’m definitely feeling that Autumn is upon us now, and for me that means that drinking hot chocolate is back on the cards! On chilly days like these there’s nothing more appealing than a hot drink to warm us up. Our cosy drinks are a much needed treat but like so many things, as soon as little ones come along they become a hazard…. Scalding is the leading cause of burn injuries in children, children are naturally curious and although we do everything we can to prevent it, accidents happen. So it’s important we know what to do if our little ones (or ourselves or anyone really!) are scalded or suffer any other type of burn injury.

The most important thing is to cool a burn straight away, for at least twenty mins. Burnt skin is very fragile and keeping our little ones under the water for that amount of time is no easy task; so the water should be cool or lukewarm, not icy cold.

Any jewellery, watches or tight clothing (nappies on babies) should be removed in case of swelling. However, any clothing stuck to a burn should be left in place.

After twenty minutes you’ll need to assess the burn to make sure the heat has been removed, if the skin starts to warm up again or is still very red, we need to continue cooling.

If a large area of skin is being cooled, keep the rest of the body warm with blankets to prevent hypothermia, particularly in the very young or old.

Once cooled the area can be covered with cling film to protect it, gently lay over rather than wrap tightly. Fo not apply any creams or fluffy dressing. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be given for pain (always read the box for dosage and manufacturer’s instructions).

At this point you need to decide if further medical help is required. The size, severity and area of the body are contributing factors, as well as the age of your casualty. For under 5’s further medical advice is always recommended. If you’re not sure call 111, they can advise if you need to go to hospital or send an ambulance if required.

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