Burns And Heat Injury Treatment First Aid For 2023


Table of Contents

What Qualifies As A Burn

Burns treatment is First Aid for injuries to the skin and underlying tissues caused by heat, friction, chemicals, gases, electricity, UV radiation (sunlight), cold, or nuclear radiation.

The most common heat damage injury is often scalding, caused by hot drinks, hot liquids or steam, radiation burns, chemical burns, and cold temperature burns. Burns can be classified depending on how deep they go into the skin- from superficial (the least severe) to full-thickness (most serious).

How Many Types Of Heat Injury Exist

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

Second-degree burns damage the outer six layers of epidermis skin and the dermis layers beneath it. Injuries 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 injury always requires skin grafts and will leave noticeable scarring.

Fourth-degree burns extend into fat.

 Fifth-degree burns penetrate the muscle.

Sixth-degree burns to the depth of the bone.

What Is First Aid For Burns In Australia


First Aid treatment is the same globally.

Apply cold running water for 2o minutes to the affected area immediately!

Management of heat injuries treated at home where there is a minor heat wound is cool running water for 20 minutes. Apply hydrogels to surface wounds that stop the heat 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 Emergency. Does the person need immediate air evacuation, or can they 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 burnt area 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 heat injury site 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 cause further damage.

Cover the heat injury site 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 situation.

Healing Time

Healing times will vary depending on the type of wound 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 heat injuries heal slowly due to damage done at a cellular level. It is difficult for them to treat 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 Heat Injury

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

Dressings Commonly Used In Burns 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 Heat Injuries

Placing a cover like plastic film or a sterile gauze bandage over a burn site is the best way to keep out foreign objects and pathogens that could cause infections in the damaged tissue. If the wound 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 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 heat injury deeper than would be received by a surface radiation burn from the sun in the case of sunburn.

A scald will penetrate 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 further need for medical attention if treated immediately, and they fall within the First-degree category.

Burns First Aid Kit

Having a dedicated Burns First Aid kit as part of your workplace or personal First Aid supplies will ensure that you are ready to spring into action and offer First Aid should the need arise.

Speciality Kits can be purchased online for less than you can put one together individually.

If you are not already certified, then taking an accredited First Aid course and learning the skills could see you saving a life when you least expect it.

FACE is an accredited registered training organisation that offers several online and offline course choices. Located in all states of Australia, we have something for everyone, even in remote areas. Click on the hyperlink to find your local trainer and book a course near you. While there, check out the FACE Blog page and read up on First Aid topics for motivation and general knowledge.

Reference Sources:


The ARC Guidelines

Treating Smoke Inhalation and Airway Burns

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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.