Hello reader. Today I want us to talk about what is probably my greatest fear in life. I lost a dear childhood friend to it. It can a happen any time at home and hence it is important to equip yourself with skills on how to manage it in case it happens to you or your children. It’s none other than BURNS.

What is burn?

A burn is tissue damage that results from scalding, overexposure to the sun or other radiation, contact with flames, chemicals or electricity, or smoke inhalation.

Burns can be caused by scalding from hot liquid, electrical burns, chemical burns and fires from matchstick, firewood etc.

Categories of burns

  • First degree– This type of burn just affect the outer layer of skin. It can be managed at home. Signs include redness of skin, swelling, pain, dry and peeling of skin as the burn heals. This burn heals within 7-10 days without scarring.
  • Second degree-Affects the deeper layer of skin. Can can also be managed at home. Symptoms include: Pain, Blisters, later the blister may burst leading to a wound. It may take longer than three weeks with some not leaving a scar while others change the skin pigment.
  • Third degree- Affects all layers of skin. This is very deep and symptoms include the following: waxy and white colour, dark brown colour of the skin, raised leather texture, blisters that do not develop. Without surgery, these burns leave major scars on the skin and may require skin grafting. Please see a doctor for this type of a burn.
  • Forth degree-Most severe burn and can cause damage to bones and joints.

How to manage a burn at home.

Even if I mentioned above that you shouldn’t treat the third and fourth degree burn, you can do something to relieve the pain before help arrives.

For all burns

  1. Stop burning immediately– Put out the fire or stop the person’s contact with hot liquid, steam or any other material causing burn. Help the person ‘STOP, DROP AND ROLL’to stop the flames. Remove the smoldering material from the person. Remove hot or burnt clothing. If it sticks on the skin, cut or tear around it.
  2. Remove tight clothing and jewelry immediately-Burns normally cause swelling on the skin quickly. Take off jewelry, belts, tight clothing

For first degree burns-(Affecting the outer skin) treatment

  1. Cool the burn- Hold burned skin under cool (not cold) running water or immerse in water until pain subsides. If running water is not available, use cool compresses on the affected area.
  2. Apply petroleum jelly- Once the burn is completely cooled, apply petroleum jelly on the burn area. I like to use Vaseline. The petroleum jelly help in moisturizing the skin preventing the skin from drying.
  3. Protect the burn-To prevent the spreading of infection, cover with sterile non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth. Wrap it loosely to avoid putting pressure on the skin. Avoid cotton as it will stick on the burnt area causing harm later. Bandaging keep air off the ara reducing the pain and protects blistered skin.
  4. Don’t break the blister-Fluid-filled blisters protect against infection. If a blister breaks, clean the area with water (mild soap is optional). Apply an antibiotic ointment. But if a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
  5. Treat pain-Give over the counter pain relievers such as Panadol, ibuprofen etc.

Second degree burn

  1. Cool the burn-Immerse the burnt area in cool water for 10-15 minutes. You can use cold compresses if running water is not available. Don’t apply ice as it can lower the body temperature causing further pain. Don’t break the blisters.
  2. Protect the burn- Cover loosely with sterile non-stick bandage.
  3. Elevate the burnt area- Raise the wound above the heart level is possible.
  4. Prevent shock- Reassure the casualty. Watch for any sign of shock such as fainting, pale complexion, breathlessness.
  5. Call 911- seek medical help if needed.

For Third and Fourth degree burn, don’t self treat. Seek medical help immediately.

Preventing burns at home

I hope you will not be a victim of burn. You can avoid it through the following protective measures.

  • Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
  • Test smoke detectors once a month.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Keep water heater temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Measure bath water temperature before use.
  • Lock up matches and lighters.
  • Install electrical outlet covers.
  • Check and discard electrical cords with exposed wires.
  • Keep chemicals out of reach, and wear gloves during chemical use.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, and avoid peak sunlight.
  • Ensure all smoking products are stubbed out completely.
  • Clean out dryer lint traps regularly.

I hope that this post has enlighted you. Hit a like below. Share it with other parents and train your nanny on how to manage burns incase they happen when you are not at home. For more free first aid training, like and follow my page on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed. Don’t forget to follow.

See also: http://wowmom.co.ke/how-to-manage-teething-in-babies/