Essential Advice For The First Aid Of Burns

Types of Burns

Table of Contents

What Are The Different Types Of Burns

First-degree burns only damage the outer layer surface of the skin, causing a superficial burn. This type of minor burn usually heals within a week. Sunburn is a great example of a first-degree burn.

Second-degree burns damage the outer six layers of epidermis skin and the dermis layers beneath it. Burns this deep might need a skin graft. Skin grafts can be made from natural or artificial skin and cover the damaged tissue to protect the body while it heals and regenerates new tissue and may leave a scar.

Third-degree burns damage or destroy both layers of skin, including the hair follicles and sweat glands. This level of burn always requires skin grafts and will leave noticeable, permanent scarring.

Lesser-known Fourth-degree burns extend into fat. Fifth-degree burns penetrate the muscle, and Sixth degree burns to the depth of the bone.

What Is The Best First Aid For Burns In Australia

Burns First Aid treatment is initially the same globally. Apply cold running water for 20 minutes to the affected area.

Management of burns treated at home to a minor burn is cool running water for 20 minutes. Apply hydrogels to surface burns that stop the burn from penetrating deeper. Larger areas or more severe burns in depth, and the percentage of the body covered, will require immediate follow-up medical treatment by paramedics and hospitalisation in a burn unit.

 Dial 000 for an ambulance and state the level of Burn Emergency. Assess and notify emergency services if the person needs immediate air evacuation or if they can safely be transported in an ambulance where the burn is severe and requires additional medical assistance but is not life-threatening.

Never use plastic film or hydrogels on chemical burns.

Remove any rings, watches, or piercings from the extremities around the burn or scald site if possible. Remove any clothing not stuck to the skin that hinders easy access to assess and treat the burnt area.

Cool the burn under cold running water for 20 minutes.

Do not use ice directly applied to skin or creams not specifically designed for treating burns, as this can further damage.

Cover the burn loosely with cling wrap or a clean, damp, lint-free cloth

 Seek immediate medical treatment from a professional if:

  • The burned area in size is larger than a 20-cent piece
  • On the face, hands, genitals, or feet
  • Deep or infected
  • Caused by chemicals, acid, or electricity
  • Do not use ice applied directly to the skin to cool the burn; it may worsen the burn

How Long Does A Burn Take To Heal

Times will vary depending on the type of Heat injury you have. The deeper the burn, the longer it will take to heal. Your moderate sunburn that doesn’t blister takes about a week to recover. Deep wounds heal slowly due to damage done at a cellular level. It is difficult to treat them as there is a higher risk of complications like infections, scarring and possible death because of their depth and the percentage of the body they cover.

Can You Use A Band-Aid On A Burn

NO! The correct way to dress any heat injury is with products specifically related to the treatment and healing of wounds.  Taking a nationally accredited FACE online First Aid course will teach you how to provide First Aid for burns, treat burns, and what products to dress the wounds with as they heal.

Types Of Dressing Most Commonly Used In Burn Treatment

The type of treatment will depend entirely on the severity of the burn. As a general guide only:

· Topical Hydrogel creams and gels (Burnaid, Nu-Gel, Curaburn, Burnshield)

· Silver sulfadiazine — silver sulfadiazine cream (SSD 1%) applied and covered with fine mesh gauze is a good wound dressing for burns.

· Silicone Dressings: Coated with a soft silicone wound contact layer, it allows easy removal without causing added trauma to the wound or surrounding tissue.

· Gel Dressings with Melaleuca honey

· Alginate Dressings

· Foam Dressings

Why Do You Cover Burns

Placing a cover like plastic film or a sterile gauze bandage over a heat injury site is the best way to keep out foreign objects and pathogens that will likely cause infections in the damaged tissue. If the injury is deep or extensive, it helps calm anxious patients if they cannot see the wound site. Plastic wrap can help maintain the moisture level in the wound site and helps to protect any damaged nerve endings that may be exposed. It may also offer a small amount of pain relief.

What Is A Chemical Burn

Chemical burns result from tissue damage caused by strong acids and corrosive substances. These can be liquid or powder in form; Liquids like drain cleaners, paint thinner, petrol, brake fluid, rust remover, bleach, ammonia, or powders like lime and cement. Countless other substances can cause chemical burns when they contact the skin or lungs for any reason. Chemical burns to the airway and lungs can be present in people who inhale smoke from a bushfire or burning buildings containing petrochemicals and plastics that give off-gases. All smoke inhalation requires professional medical assessment and treatment.

Treating Smoke Inhalation and Airway Burns

How Is A Scald Different From A Burn

Scald injuries are caused by something wet, such as hot water or steam, contacting the skin and superheating the skin layers almost instantly to drive the burn deeper than would be received by a surface radiation burn from the sun in the case of sunburn. A scald will penetrate and burn deeper into the tissue faster, causing more damage to the underlying tissue in less time. Coldwater for 20 mins and hydrogels work effectively on these without needing further medical attention if treated immediately, and they fall within the first-degree burns category.

Heat Injury Dedicated First Aid Kit

Having a dedicated heat injury First Aid Kit as part of your workplace or personal First Aid kit will ensure that you are ready to spring into action and offer First Aid should the need arise and can be purchased online. If you are not already certified, then taking an accredited First Aid course to learn the skills from basic to advanced could see you saving a life when you least expect it.

FACE offers several online and offline course choices, and we are located in all states of Australia. Visit our FACE Blog page and read other interesting First Aid and Medically related topics to broaden your knowledge on all things First Aid related.

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First Aid For Burns

Burn injuries can occur unexpectedly, leaving victims in pain and distress. Whether it’s a minor

Learn first aid today and be ready to respond to any emergencies.