You need to be extra careful when treating burns. The longer the burning goes on, the more severe the injury will be, and the longer it may take to heal. So you need to cool the burn as soon as possible. If someone has a severe burn or scald they are likely to suffer from shock, because of the fluid loss, so they will need urgent hospital treatment.
What to look for If you think someone has a burn or scald, there are five key things to look for:
- Red skin
- Blisters may form on the skin later on
- The skin may peel
- The skin may be white or scorched
What you need to do
- Stop the burning getting any worse, by moving the casualty away from the source of heat.
- Start cooling the burn as quickly as possible. Run it under cool water for at least ten minutes or until the pain feels better. (Don’t use ice, creams or gels – they can damage tissues and increase risk of infection).
Assess how bad the burn is. It is serious if it is:
- larger than the size of the casualty’s hand
- on the face, hands or feet, or
- a deep burn
If it is serious, call 999 or 111 for emergency medical help.
- Remove any jewellery or clothing near the burn (unless it is stuck to it).
- Cover the burned area with kitchen cling film or another clean, non-fluffy material, like a clean plastic bag. This will protect from infection.
- If necessary, treat for shock (shock is a life-threatening condition, not to be confused with emotional shock).
- If you are unsure if the burn is serious then tell the person to see a doctor.