How to Treat Burns

There are many ways people can get burned. You can get burned by accident by walking too close to a candle, or you get burned while you are cooking dinner. Someone in your home can get burned and you need to know what to do in case you are called upon to treat a burn. Every mom and dad needs to know how to treat burns. The first rule of thumb in how to treat burns is not to panic.

If you are caring for someone who has been burned be reassuring. The one rule of thumb in how to treat burns is to cool the burn. Panicking is the last thing you want to do, because the victim needs to believe you know how to treat burns. People who are burned may be very irritable; try to be their source of comfort. Don’t ask them if they are in pain; you know they are. Burns hurt. The only burns that don’t hurt are third degree burns, which are medical emergencies. If you are the person to take charge of a situation where someone is burned, assess the situation and act accordingly. If the burn is severe enough to warrant emergency care, dial 911.

How do you know the severity of a burn?

Part of knowing how to treat burns is knowing how to judge the severity of the burn injury. You will need to know how to classify what degree of a burn you are treating. First degree burns red and there may also be swelling present. The skin is not broken; only the top layer of skin is burned. There is no blistering in a first degree burn.

Second degree burns are more serious than first degree burns because there is blistering. The epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer) of skin are burned. Fluid leaves the cells of these layers and collects between the two layers which cause blistering. A second degree burn is characterized by blistering and severe pain. A large area of skin involved in a second degree burn is serious enough to need emergency care. Part of knowing how to treat burns is realizing when outside medical care is necessary.

Calling 911 for emergency medical care is the first step in how to treat third degree burns. Get help on the way and then deal with the victim. Be calm yourself and do not do or say anything to upset the victim any more than he/she already is. Watch for signs of shock. If the victim looks pale and becomes cold and clammy shock is setting in. Get the victim to the floor and elevate his/her feet and legs above the heart. Shock is a medical emergency and treating shock is an important part of how to treat burns.

With third degree burns the victim may be alert and oriented, and he/she may say they are not hurting. The victim may fight against going to the hospital because of the absence of pain. You must follow through with getting emergency care for this victim. Explain to the victim there is no pain with third degree burns. Place cool moist towels over the burned area, or pour cool or tepid water over the burn if possible. Continue cooling the wounds until emergency medical personnel come to take over.