Updated 10 June 2015

First aid for burns

Many people light candles and kerosene lamps during loadshedding, which increases the chances of being burnt.

Here's what to do if you burn yourself:

Submerge the burnt area in cool, running water until the pain subsides, between 10 and 30 minutes.

- Cool water reduces the heat and prevents further tissue damage.

- Alternatively, cover it with a wet, clean cloth, or a burn shield, particularly if the burn is on the face.

- Don’t use ice as it can cause frostbite. Never use butter, grease or oil on a burn.

- Once the pain subsides, wash the area gently with soap and water and pat dry.

- If the burn rubs against clothing, cover it with an antiseptic cream and a dry gauze bandage changed twice a day.

- Remove clothing and jewellery from the burnt area as swelling could make it difficult to remove it later.

- Don’t remove clothing that sticks to the skin.

- If a secondary burn is on the arm or leg, keep the limb elevated above the heart.

- Take paracetamol for pain.

- Don’t burst blisters. They help the skin to heal. If blisters break, clean them with water, apply antiseptic ointment and cover with a gauze bandage. Change the bandage twice a day.

Read up on how to identify the seriousness of a burn and how to prevent them in the first place.


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