Management of burns

21 May 2015
Comments: 0
21 May 2015, Comments: 0

Depending on the severity of the burn which is based on the size and depth, a doctor should be consulted or call for emergency assistance right away. Regardless of the severity of the burn, there are vital measures in managing the burn.

  • Flush the burned area with cool running water for several minutes
  • Call for emergency assistance for severe burns
  • Apply a burn spray or ointment for pain relief
  • Provide the individual with acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief

A close look on managing burns

The best way to truly understand how to properly manage burns is to follow these measures.


You have to cool down the seared area using cool flowing water for several minutes.

  • You have to cool down the seared area using cool flowing water for several minutes. Do not spray the burned area with high pressure. Simply let the water to course through the affected area for as long as possible. When it comes to minor burns, it can be cooled with tap water over the sink. Do not be afraid to rinse out larger burns using a hose outside. Avoid using ice to cool a burn directly. Remember that ice can cause frostbite rapidly when applied over a burn since the skin is already damaged. While the emergency team is on the way, do not stop cooling the burn using running water until the team arrives on the scene.
  • Call for emergency assistance if there is charring or blistering in the face, genitals as well as around the wrist, ankle, arm or leg. If the burn covers most of the hands or foot and if it involves an area bigger than the bulk of the chest, call for emergency assistance. Do not waver to call for emergency aid if you believe that this is an emergency case irrespective whether the injury covers the body regions stated.
  • Minor burns are managed with a topical burn spray or ointment to help reduce the pain. The ointments used must be water-soluble. If there are blisters, avoid breaking them. Just continue to cool the area using running water to reduce the pain. Do not use butter or oil on any burn. Take note that butter or oil will only trap the heat and make the burn deeper over time
  • You can provide the individual with over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage pain from a mild burn. In case a stronger form of pain relief is needed, it is best to consult a doctor or bring the individual to the emergency department.

Important tips to bear in mind

Remember that burns destroy the skin and the loss of skin can lead to dehydration, infection and hypothermia. It is vital to ensure that the individual with a burn is given emergency care if he/she experiences any of the following:

  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Shivering
  • Fever or chills
  • Cold sweats

While the burn is healing, the individual should wear loose natural clothing such as light cotton or silk. Wearing clothes made out of rough fabric will irritate the skin even more.

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