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A burn victim will require different type of care depending on the type and extent of his injury. Burns vary greatly from a common, fairly harmless sunburn to a potentially life-threatening 3rd degree burn caused by open flames or electrocution. Here's how to distinguish the three different types of burn injuries and how to care for each:

  • 1st degree burns are usually accompanied by redness and some swelling of the skin.
    Treat a minor burn by first cooling the affected area. If possible, keep the injury under cool running water for at least 10 minutes. If running water is not available place the burn in a container of cold water such as a bucket, tub or even a deep dish. Using a cool, wet compress made of clean cloth will also work if nothing else is available. Keeping the burn cool will reduce pain and minimize the swelling. If the injury is on the part of a body where jewelry or snug clothing is present, carefully remove them before it begins to swell. Apply a moisturizing lotion or Aloe Vera extract and dress the burnt area with loosely wrapped sterile gauze.

  • 2nd degree burns will result in deeper, more intense redness of the skin as well as swelling and blistering.
    This type of burn should be treated just as a 1st degree burn but because the damage to the skin is more extensive, extra care should be taken to avoid infection and excessive scarring. Replace the dressing daily and keep the wound clean. If a blister breaks use mild soap and warm water to rinse the area. Apply antibiotic cream such as Neosporin to prevent infection before redressing in sterile gauze.

  • 3rd degree burns may appear and feel deceptively harmless as the victim may not feel much pain due to complete destruction of all layers of skin and tissue as well as nerve endings. The damaged area may appear charred or ash-color and will instantly start to blister or "peel".
    If the victim's clothing is on fire, douse him with non-flammable liquid. Dial 9-1-1. Do not remove burnt clothing from the victim as this will expose open wounds to the elements and potential infection. If possible, cover the victim's injuries with wet sterile cloth to reduce the pain and swelling. If you notice that the victim is going into shock and loses consciousness, you will need to perform CPR.

 
 
 
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