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A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Burns


Burns:  Burns is damage to your body's tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires, flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns.

There are three types of burns:
•   First-degree burns damage only the outer layer of skin
•   Second-degree burns damage the outer layer and the layer underneath
•   Third-degree burns damage or destroy the deepest layer of skin and tissues underneath

Burns can cause swelling, blistering, scarring and, in serious cases, shock and even death. They also can lead to infections because they damage the skin's protective barrier. Antibiotic creams can prevent or treat infections. First and second-degree burns usually heal without grafts. After a third-degree burn, you need skin or synthetic grafts to cover exposed tissue and encourage new skin to grow.

Follow the first aid advice below to treat burns and scalds:
  • Stop the burning process as soon as possible. This may mean removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water or smothering flames with a blanket. Do not put yourself at risk of getting burnt as well.
  • Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin. However, don't try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin because this could cause more damage.
  • Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances such as butter.
  • Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person's body temperature drops below 35ºC (95ºF). This is a risk if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
  • Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.
Always get medical help straight away if the person with the burn:
  •     has other injuries that need treating
  •     is going into shock – signs include cold clammy skin, sweating, rapid shallow breathing and weakness or dizziness
  •     is pregnant
  •     is over 60 years of age
  •     is under five years of age
  •     has a medical condition such as heart, lung or liver disease, or diabetes
  •     has a weakened immune system (the body's defence system), for example because of HIV or AIDS, or because they're   having chemotherapy for cancer
  •     has breathed in smoke or fumes
  •     has an electrical burn
  •     has a chemical burn  
Medical Emergency: People with first degree burns should always seek  professional medical attention.
People with second degree and third degree burns should be taken IMMEDIATELY to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.

See Scalding



Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

 


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