Burns and burn kits

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Dealing with Burns: First Aid Guide

Understanding Burn Types

Burns can occur through various means, including contact with hot objects, steam, chemicals, electricity, or sun exposure.

Treating Burns: The General Rule

The primary approach to treating burns is to cool the affected area under running water for a minimum of 20 minutes or by gently pouring cool water over the burn for the same duration. This thorough cooling helps prevent further damage and ensures the skin is adequately cooled.

When Running Water Isn't Available

In situations without access to running water, burn kits become valuable. These kits are commonly found in kitchens and areas with an elevated risk of burn injuries.

Burn dressings found in these kits are gel-based, designed to cool the burn without adhering to the injured area.

Maintaining Cleanliness

Handling burns requires utmost care, as they compromise the body's natural infection barrier. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain strict cleanliness when dealing with burns.

Understanding Burn Severity

Burns can vary in intensity and fall into different categories:

  • Superficial burn: Affects the outer skin layer, typically caused by brief contact with heat sources like irons or flames. Symptoms include redness and pain.
  • Partial-thickness burn: Involves damage to both the outer skin layer and part of the second layer, resulting in blisters, redness, swelling, and pain.
  • Full-thickness burn: Affects all skin layers, potentially causing pain or nerve damage, sometimes leading to a lack of pain sensation.

Note: Burns can also be a combination of partial and full thickness, with varying severity across the affected area.

Factors to Consider

Several factors influence burn injuries:

  • Patient's age: Young and elderly individuals typically have thinner skin, making them more susceptible to burns.
  • Location of the burn: The burn's location on the body can impact its severity.

Assessing Burn Size

For assessing burn size, the "Rule of Nines" is commonly used:

  • Hand: 1%
  • Head: 9%
  • Front of the body: 18%
  • Back of the body: 18%
  • Each leg: 18%
  • Each arm: 9%

The burn's severity depends on the percentage of the body affected, as calculated using the Rule of Nines and the burn's thickness (partial or full).

This calculation is essential for informing Emergency Services about the situation.

First Aid Solutions

Various dressings and first aid solutions for burns are available, including burn wrap and special dressings, gels, and sprays. These products are designed to protect and soothe burn injuries.

Dealing with Burned Clothing

If clothing is stuck to a burn, avoid peeling it off. Instead, carefully cut around the affected area when necessary to prevent further damage.

Additional Burn Kit Items

Common items found in burn kits include safety scissors for cutting clothing, gloves for protection, and saline solution for cleansing.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit three LO4.3, 4.4 & 5.1