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Updated 10 June 2015

First aid for burns

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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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