Burns are considered as a global public health problem. Based on the reports gathered by the National Institute of Health, there are more than 2 million people in the country who needs treatment for burns annually. This problem also accounts for the estimated 195,000 deaths every year. Non-fatal burns also result in disfigurement and disability, huge financial losses, stigma, and rejection.
Burns are skin injuries caused by heat, radiation, chemicals, or electricity. This type of injury damages the skin tissue causing the fluid to leak into the blood vessel. This results in inflammation and pain. Severe burns usually break through the skin and into the deeper body structure, such as muscle or bone. In addition to all these injuries, there is also a high risk of infection because of the open wound. This means that the injured skin do not have a barrier against bacteria and other harmful organisms.
Common Cause Of Burns
Household Fires: Among the most common cause of burns is household fire which may result from cooking accidents, unsafe use of heating equipments,, smoking, or space heaters. Every year, household fires caused 3,030 deaths, 13,300 injuries, and billions of dollars in property damages.
Hot Liquid And Scalding: The most common victims of getting burned due to hot liquid or scalding are children because their skin is much thinner. Although liquid burns can still harm the skin of an adult, it can injure a child’s skin much more seriously. The elderly are also more prone to hot liquid and scalding burns because of their less sensitive skin and slower reflexes.
Defective Products: Burns due to defective products cause thousands of burn injuries every year. According to the personal injury lawyers at the Galveston-based Tad Nelson & Associates, when an individual gets injured by a defective product, he or she can file an injury lawsuit against the seller or manufacturer of the said product. Manufacturers and sellers should test and inspect the product before placing it on the market. The most common products that get recalled because they cause burn injuries are ceramic tea kettles, space heaters, and fire extinguishers.
Chemical Burns: It is very unfortunate that some chemical burns are not immediately obvious. There are some chemicals that cause deep tissue damage which does not immediately manifest burn symptoms. In addition, exposure to chemicals at work over a particular span of time can cause changing symptoms. The risk of suffering from chemical burns is higher in industrial settings than at home. Burns from household chemicals tend to be less serious because of the level of exposure.
First Aid Treatment For Burns
The first thing you should do is to stop the burning to prevent further injuries and damage to the skin and body structure.
Heat Burns: Immediately smother the flames using a blanket or water. If the victim’s clothes catch fire, he should not run. Instead, he should stop, drop and roll on the ground.
Liquid Burns or Scalding: Run cool water over the affected area for ten to twenty minutes. Do not apply ice over the burn area.
Chemical Burns: The victim should avoid eating food with chili peppers since it may irritate the skin. This will only worsen the burning sensation. When a person suffers from burn injuries due to chemical exposure, find out what type of chemical caused the burn and immediately call the Poison Control Center to know how to treat it.
For any type of serious burn, immediately consult a doctor. Here’s what you need to do:
- Cover the burn with a dry cloth to lower the risk of infection. Make sure that the cloth used is clean and sanitary.
- Do not apply any ointment or medicine on the burned area, especially for severe burn. This will help the doctor assess the burn injury properly.
- Do not apply ice or butter on the burned area. These first aid treatments do not alleviate pain. In fact, it will only cause more damage to the skin tissue.
Kris Hopkins is a registered nurse who has treated burn patients. In this article, she lists some of the common causes of burn injuries and a simple first aid treatment guide.