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Classification & Treatment

BURN WOUNDS

Classifications

First degree burns/Superficial burns

First degree burns cause minimal skin damage and are considered superficial since they affect the top layer of skin only. The burn site is usually red, painful and dry without blistering.

Second degree burns/Partial thickness burns

Second degree burns also called partial thickness burns extend beyond the top layer into the dermis causing the skin to blister and become red. These are typical the most painful type or burn.

Third Degree burns/ Full thickness burns

Third degree burns extended beyond the dermis and are referred to as full thickness burns. They affect the underlying structure such as blood vessels and nerves. Skin appear charred.

Treatment
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For minor burns:

  • Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cool running water or apply a cool, wet compress until the pain eases.

  • Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells.

  • Don't break blisters. Fluid-filled blisters protect against infection. If a blister breaks, clean the area with water (mild soap is optional). Don’t attempt to remove anything directly sticking to a burn

  • Don’t apply any oil substance. Don’t apply or toothpastes, butter or anything to the area except for recognised burn relief dressings such as Burnshield

  • Bandage the burn. Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage (not fluffy cotton). Wrap it loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the area, reduces pain and protects blistered skin.

​For major burns:

  • Protect the burned person from further harm. If you can do so safely, make sure the person you're helping is not in contact with the source of the burn. For electrical burns, make sure the power source is off before you approach the burned person

  • Call HEMS

  • Make certain that the person burned is breathing. If needed, begin rescue breathing if you know how.

  • Remove jewellery, belts and other restrictive items, especially from around burned areas and the neck. Burned areas swell rapidly.

  • Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist bandage or a clean cloth.

  • Don't immerse large severe burns in water. Doing so could cause a serious loss of body heat (hypothermia).

  • Elevate the burned area. Raise the wound above heart level, if possible.

  • Watch for signs of shock. Signs and symptoms include fainting, pale complexion or breathing in a notably shallow fashion.

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