First Aid Health & Medical

Burn Wounds: How to Respond in Critical Situations

Hot flames that can cause a burn.
Written by Nancy

Burns can be major and minor. Major burns are deep and larger than 3 inches. On the other hand, minor burns are less than three diameters and only result in skin blistering and redness. However, when dealing with either of the two types, the right care and the right time are critical. It’s important to treat burns quickly and in the right facility.

Understand the burn


The correct way to go about a burn wound is to accurately determine what caused it. Common causes of burn wounds include coming in contact with hot surfaces, frostbites, chemicals, thermal, radiation, electrical, and scalds.


First-degree wounds are caused by sunburns and only affect the outer layer of your skin. The skin may become hot to the touch, swollen, and blistery. Second-degree burns penetrate deeper into the middle later of the tissue and are more painful than first-degree burns. Third-degree burns are also known as full-thickness burns. In this case, all three layers of the skin become affected. In some cases, the burn may even penetrate deeper into the muscles, organs, and bones.


Emergency care


There is little you can manage at home when providing treatment for a burn. After the patient has been provided with adequate first aid, it’s important to take them to a burn center for long-term care. Until emergency help arrives:


  1. Move the person far away from the source of the flame. In the case of an electric fire, turn off the power source.
  2. Remove all sorts of restrictive items from the individual’s body.
  3. Raise the burned area, preferably above the burned area.
  4. Remove any clothing from the burnt area and cover it with a clean cloth or a clean, moist bandage.
  5. Look out for any symptoms of shock, shallow breathing, and fainting.


In the case of a minor burn, try and cool it down by applying cool and wet compresses. Be as gentle as you can. You can apply aloe vera to cool own the burn. Loosely bandage it after you’re done.


What not to do?


Never immerse a burnt individual’s body parts in water. This can result in hypothermia—loss of body heat. Don’t breathe or cough onto a burn. That’ll contaminate it. Don’t apply any home remedies such as ointments, creams, ice, or butter. If it’s an airway burn, avoid putting a pillow under their head. Don’t self-medicate with OTC pain relievers.


Speak with a doctor instead. If you can’t reach out to a doctor immediately, FastDocNow would be glad to schedule a telemedicine appointment with a virtual doctor for you. Learn more about their online medical consultation services here.


Disclaimer: The content and information provided in this blog and any linked material on this website are not intended as or should not be construed as professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare providers or your physician for any questions and concerns regarding specific medical conditions or before making a decision regarding your personal healthcare.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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