All about burns

You could be burned in a variety of ways: by washing your hands and feet under a very hot tap, scalding yourself with hot tea or coffee or bathing in very hot water. These are the most common accidents, especially among kids, and babies are particularly prone to them. Usually, burns are minor and can be treated at home, but the more serious ones should be given hospital care.

Causes of burns: To prevent yourself or family member from being burned, first understand the origin of the various kinds of burns:
  • Scalds: This can happen due to steam, hot bath water, coffee spilt over the cup and cooking liquids
  • Close contact with flames or hot objects: When you stand in front of the stove, fireplace, curling iron, you might get burned
  • Chemical burns: This happens due to your swallowing drain cleaner or watch batteries, or spilling onto your skin chemicals such as bleach onto the skin
  • Electrical burns: This comes from biting electrical cords or sticking your fingers in switch boards
  • Being overexposed to the sun
Symptoms of burns: The symptoms of burns depend upon their severity. If you have suffered a mild burn of first degree, this will reflect as red skin and give you mild pain and will take about six days to heal. Second-degree burn may lead to swelling, blisters and peeling of the skin. Third-degree burns are so severe that they can lead to white or black charred skin, and damage the nerves and skin layers under the top layer.

Treating burns: If you are saving someone from burns, do not get burned in the process. To treat him, first stop the burn by cooling it under a running tap for a few minutes, while calling for an ambulance.

Next, look for any blisters or charring. If you find blisters, it means the top layer of the skin is completely damaged and complications will arise. Burns without blisters can be treated as topical burns with an ointment or spray to reduce pain. You can also give the victim over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for mild burns, but for severe ones, let a doctor decide.

Burns can also lead to skin infection, dehydration and hypothermia or loss of body heat. So ensure that the victim gets emergency help if he feels dizzy, weak, runs a fever or breaks out in a cold sweat.

Home remedy for burns: These include:
  • Apply honey to the wound after washing the wound thoroughly. This will prevent infection and heal the wound.
  • Cut some fresh aloe vera leaves and place it on the burnt body part so that the wound heals quickly. Once this happens, break a capsule of vitamin E and pour out its contents on the wound. This will prevent scarring.
With this, you are well-equipped for an emergency and can avert the worst kind of burns cases, should they ever arise.

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