What To Do If Your Family Member Sustains A Burn

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s crucial to know how to respond, especially if a family member sustains a burn injury. Burns can range from mild to severe, and the actions you take in the first moments can significantly impact the outcome. But what should you do exactly? Let’s find out. 

Assess the Situation

The first step in dealing with a burn injury is to assess the situation and determine the severity of the burn. You may not feel any pain or suffering immediately after your burn, but there could be long-term effects that you may not even realize. 

There are three types of burns, but they are categorized into three main categories which include: 

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns usually only affect the top layer of skin and are often characterized by redness, pain, and mild swelling. They are usually minor and can often be treated at home, but they could also leave scars in the process. 

However, if you have a first degree burn that covers a large area of your skin, it might be worth it to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. 

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns affect deeper skin layers and are characterized by blisters, severe pain, and redness, usually requiring medical attention. Surprisingly, they are the most common type of burn that can happen at home. 

If you have a second degree burn, it can take anywhere from 7 to 21 days to fully heal. Knowing how to treat your burn can depend on a number of factors such as if the burn has a deep redness, it is swelling, or if it might be painful to touch on a regular basis. 

Third-Degree Burns

Unfortunately, third-degree burns are the most severe and involve all skin layers. They often appear white, brown, or black and may not be painful due to nerve damage. This type of burn requires immediate medical attention, and the healing process depends on the severity and area of the burn. 

These types of burns can usually happen from a fire, and they can usually occur and may not even notice. For example, I knew of someone who was sitting right near a fireplace and his jacket got on fire, and he suffered a third-degree burn in the process. 

Unfortunately, the healing process took many weeks with a lot of time spent in the hospital and medical bills that piled up overtime. 

Steps To Take After A Burn

For second-degree burns that cover a large area or any third-degree burns, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Burns can be life-threatening, and professional medical assistance is essential. When you wait for help to arrive, make sure to follow these steps. 

1. Make Sure You Are Safe

Before approaching the injured family member, ensure the safety of both yourself and the victim. Remove any potential sources of further harm, such as flames, hot liquids, or electrical hazards. Safety should always be the top priority.

2. Cool and Cover The Burn

For first-degree and some second-degree burns, you can cool the burn with cool (not cold) running water for about 10-20 minutes. This helps reduce pain and prevent the burn from worsening. Do not use ice or icy water as it can damage the tissues further.

After cooling the burn, cover it with a clean, sterile bandage or non-stick gauze. Avoid using adhesive bandages directly on the burn, as they can stick to the wound and cause more damage.

3. Offer Pain Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Follow the dosing instructions carefully, and with the help of a medical professional on your side. Make sure to listen to your doctor’s instructions when it comes to choosing which medication is best for you. 

4. Do Not Pop Blisters

If blisters form on the burn, do not pop them. Popping blisters can introduce infection and slow down the healing process. Simply cover them with a sterile dressing, and let a doctor or dermatologist take care of the blister for you. 

5. Do Not Use Creams and Keep An Eye on Infections

Avoid applying creams, lotions, or ointments to the burn unless directed by a healthcare professional. These can potentially trap heat and hinder the healing process. In addition, it is also important to keep in mind which cream is best for your healing. 

You should also keep a close eye on the burn for any signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or discharge. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention immediately from your primary care doctor.

6. Seek Legal Assistance If Necessary

If your burn injuries may have happened due to the negligence of another party, it might be beneficial to seek the help of an experienced Philadelphia burn injury attorney. An attorney who specializes in burn injury claims may be the best advocate on your side during the difficult times of a burn injury. 

The Emotional Distress of A Burn Injury

Dealing with a family member’s burn injury can be distressing, but knowing how to respond can make a significant difference in their recovery. After such a traumatic event, it is crucial to always prioritize safety, seek professional medical help for severe burns, and follow these steps for immediate care. 

Your quick and appropriate actions can help minimize pain, reduce complications, and promote healing. Remember that burns, even mild ones, should be assessed by a healthcare provider to ensure proper treatment and prevent complications in the long run.

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