First Aid for Burns
Advisory by Grace Wang Su Leng, Guardian Pharmacist
Friendly Farmacist Friday: Burns are common injuries that have multiple causes. Learn more about burns and how you can treat the affected areas with these tips.
What are burns?
Burns are a type of injury to the skin or flesh caused by direct heat, chemicals, electricity, friction, or radiation.
How are burns classified?
The extent of the burn is determined based on how deep the damage is, this affects how much attention and medical care is required. There are three different degrees of burns. First-degree burn generally only affects the outer layer (epidermis) of skin. When the second layer (dermis) is injured, the burn is classified as a second-degree burn. Third-degree burn is the most severe category, affecting all skin layers and resulting in permanent tissue damage.
How should burns be treated?
Most minor burns like first-degree burns usually heal naturally on their own. You can ease the pain and flush away chemicals (for chemical burns) by running cool (not cold) water over the affected area for at least ten minutes. You should avoid popping any blisters that appear as that may lead to an infection. You may opt to loosely cover the area with sterile gauze, but be careful not to use cotton or any material which may get lint stuck on the wound. Medical help should be sought immediately for severe burns like second and third-degree burns.