Here’s hoping you have a safe 4th of July. However, it is the most dangerous holiday we celebrate. And let’s face it, somebody reading this is going to get hurt celebrating our nation’s independence; probably with some pyrotechnic malfunction. So, here, should you need it, are some tips from the Mayo Clinic:
- Cool the burn to help soothe the pain. Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain eases. Or apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.
- Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area.Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells.
- Don’t break small blisters (no bigger than your little fingernail). If blisters break, gently clean the area with mild soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage.
- Apply moisturizer or aloe vera lotion or gel, which may provide relief in some cases.
- If needed, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Consider a tetanus shot. Make sure that your tetanus booster is up to date. Doctors recommend people get a tetanus shot at least every 10 years.
- Protect the burned person from further harm. If you can do so safely, make sure the person you’re helping is not in contact with smoldering materials or exposed to smoke or heat. But don’t remove burned clothing stuck to the skin.
- Check for signs of circulation. Look for breathing, coughing or movement. Begin CPR if needed.
- Remove jewelry, belts and other restrictive items,especially from around burned areas and the neck. Burned areas swell rapidly.
- Don’t immerse large severe burns in cold water. Doing so could cause a serious loss of body heat (hypothermia) or a drop in blood pressure and decreased blood flow (shock).
- Elevate the burned area. Raise the wound above heart level, if possible.
- Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist, bandage or a clean cloth.
Is it a minor burn or a major burn?
A first-degree burn is the least serious type, involving only the outer layer of skin. It may cause:
A second-degree burn is more serious. It may cause:
- Red, white or splotchy skin
If the second-degree burn is no larger than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter, treat it as a minor burn. If the burned area is larger or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, treat it as a major burn and get medical help immediately.
The most serious burns involve all layers of the skin and underlying fat. Muscle and even bone may be affected. Burned areas may be charred black or white. The person may experience:
- Difficulty breathing
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Other toxic effects, if smoke inhalation also occurred