Burns are a common, painful, and possibly life-threatening injury. Burn scarring is generally disfiguring and permanent, and burns usually develop infected.

Every year, British hospitals treat 13,000 burn victims. Every year, 200 individuals die as a result of burn injuries.

Who is the most vulnerable?

Workplace burns account for a third of all adult burns. Those operating in fields where they are exposed to flames, steam, hot objects, or chemicals should take all necessary safety precautions.

Children under the age of four accounts for 70% of all paediatric burns. The skin of children is more delicate and thin than that of adults. A cup of tea made more than 10 minutes ago can still cause significant burns to a young child.

Additional precautions must be taken to limit the risk of burns in children.

Elderly patients account for 10% of all burns, and their mortality rate is much greater. The skin of aged adults thins and becomes more friable, similar to that of little infants. Their reflexes are frequently slower to withdraw away from a heat source, and their nerve endings are often less sensitive to threats as well. They are especially prone to burns because of their declining vision and balance, as well as a strong desire to stay independent.

What is the best way to treat a burn?

The traditional first-aid burns therapy was to immerse the afflicted region in cool flowing water for at least ten minutes. This changed in May 2019, when the NHS, British Burn Association, and others followed the recommendation of an Australian research team at their national Centre for Children’s Burns and increased the duration to treat the burn to a full 20 minutes under cold running water.

In summary:

  • Remove any loose clothing or jewellery, but leave anything stuck to the burn alone.
  • Use 2-15 degrees Celsius chilly flowing water.
  • The treatment should last for the entire 20 minutes.
  • A burn should not be treated with ice or ice water.
  • Wrap the burn in a sterile dressing such as a crepe bandage 
  • According to the research, successful burn therapy (i.e. Following the methods outlined above) reduces tissue damage, speeds wound healing and reduces scarring.

What are the advantages of running cool water?

  • The depth of the wound has shrunk.
  • Reduction in the time it takes to re-epithelialize a wound.
  • Reduced hospital stays and visits
  • Grafting and scar maintenance are no longer required.

Water, in essence, is important for decreasing scar tissue.

What if I can’t get to my burn right away?

It is critical to seek treatment as soon as possible in order to minimise tissue damage and suffering. However, there is a lot of debate concerning how long treatment can be helpful following an injury.

Should I use BurnShield, Burnfree, or Water-Jel hydrogels?

In fact, water gels are used by 37% of UK fire departments instead of cool running water. 76 percent, on the other hand, utilise them in addition to cold running water. Although there have been few studies on hydrogels, they have shown that these gels may not provide significant healing advantages.

Following First Aid

After you’ve taken the necessary precautions, you’ll need to determine whether or not to travel to the hospital for additional treatment.

Keep an eye out for hypothermia symptoms and try to keep the victim warm while cooling the burn.

Seek medical help if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • The victim is a youngster or an infant.
  • The burn is the size of a 50p coin.
  • White or charred skin has occurred from a burn (of any size).
  • Burns can occur everywhere on the body, including the face, perineum, foot, and hands.
  • The burn has turned into a blister.
  • Chemicals or electricity can cause burns.

You should also seek medical attention right away if the person in question:

  • Other injuries are present.
  • Show symptoms of being shocked (rapid breathing, weakness and dizziness, cold, clammy skin or sweating).
  • Is expecting a child.
  • Is it above 60 or under 5 years old?
  • Has a medical problem (heart, lung, liver disease or diabetes)
  • Has a compromised immune system, such as from AIDS or chemotherapy.

If a person has been injured in a fire, get medical aid right away. Smoke inhalation causes the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Breathing problems
  • Nasal hair that has been charred
  • Burns on the face
  • A squeaky voice
  • A delay in symptoms could suggest airway injury, which is exceedingly dangerous. Remove the victim from harm’s way, treat any visible burns, and get medical help right away.

Harberry Training provides first aid training Northern Ireland wide. Our instructors are highly qualified medical, health, and emergency care professionals who will customise the training to meet your specific requirements. Group or individual courses at our location or yours.

This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice. First Aid for Life disclaims any responsibility or liability for any diagnoses or acts based on this material.