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
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
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