First Aid for Burns

First Aid for Burns

– Hello, I’m Emma Hammett,
the founder and CEO of First Aid for Life
and, and the author of Burns,
Falls, and Emergency Calls, The Ultimate Guide to the
Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Accidents. Today I’m going to talk
to you about burns. Burns are scary. Burns cause long-term damage to the skin, and burns are something that first aid and prompt and appropriate first aid can make a massive difference to the amount of pain and scarring that somebody actually experiences, and the treatment for
burns is incredibly simple. Cool running water. People get really caught up in complicating the treatment for burns. Please don’t put anything else on a burn other than cool running water. That is the best thing to
actually cool down the burn. We are meat, and you are burning, so what we need to do
is cool down the burn. So if it is a scald, and
there is a hot liquid that’s been spilled onto someone, the quandary is do you take
the clothes off or don’t you? Well, the most important thing
is that you’re not removing anything that is stuck to the burn, because if it is stuck to the skin, and you try and remove it, you will rip off more of the skin. So the key thing is, if it is a child who has had a cup of hot
coffee split on them, and it was a cold day and they
were wearing a thick coat, if you’re able to take that
coat off as quickly as you can before the hot liquid has
actually gone through it and gone to their skin, then clearly that is a
very sensible thing to do. If however they were
wearing a cotton T-shirt and when you just try gently to remove it, there is some resistance
there, then leave it on, in which case you would then cool over the top of the clothing. You will be able to cool the burn better without the clothing. So if you are able to remove
it without removing anything that is stuck, then please do so. So the key thing is to cool,
cool, cool, cool, cool, and cool some more. And I can’t impress more
highly how important that is. So cooling the burn will actually
reverse some of the damage that has been done, and can actually lead
to a more severe burn becoming less severe, just because you have cooled
it swiftly and efficiently. Now, keep an eye open for signs of shock because shock is very serious, we’ll cover that in a separate video, but with shock, it is
made worse if someone is scared, in pain, and if they are cold. If you have someone that is burned, they’re likely to be scared. They’re likely to be in pain, and if you are then
cooling the burn on top, you need to make sure that
you’re cooling the burn and keeping the rest of the casualty wrapped up and as warm and
calm as you possibly can. So the key thing is, cool it,
cool it, cool it, cool it, cool it, cool running water is the best. If you don’t have access
to cool running water, then the advice is that any
other suitable liquid will do. And I’m not going to rush
and put coke on a burn, but seriously, if you’re in a supermarket and someone spills a hot drink over you, the easiest thing to do is to
grab some milk, for example, and that would be a very sensible thing, and they would have copious
amounts of milk in a supermarket in the refrigerator section
that you could then pour over to ensure that you’re
not more severely burned and everyone has free coffees going around in a lot of the supermarkets now, and that does have dangers. So, cool it, cool it, cool it. It’s cool running water,
it’s not iced water, so it doesn’t need to be freezing cold and in fact, if you were
to put ice on a burn, you could actually constrict
some of the blood vessels and slow down some of the healing. So it’s just cool running water. And it should be for at least 10 minutes, or until some of the burning
sensation begins to reduce, but that will be at least 10 minutes. Think about taking a joint
of meat out of the oven and leaving it to rest. It takes at least 10 minutes to cool. And so it needs a full 10 minutes plus of cooling. And time it, because if you are running something under cool running water and you have a distressed casualty, it will feel a lot longer
than the 10 minutes. So time it properly, because it does take at least 10 minutes to cool a burn properly. So cool it, cool it, cool
it, cool it, cool it. Don’t rush to dress it. If the burn is bigger than
a 50p piece on a child. Basically burns are measured
according to your palm. So if the burn is bigger than your hand, that is one percent. So for a child, for a baby, it’s tiny, so a 50p piece is a serious burn for them. So if it is red and blistered and it is larger than a 50p piece, I would be phoning an ambulance, and continuing to cool the
burn under cool running water during that time. So cool it, cool it, cool it. If you do want to transport
them to a hospital yourself, all burns should be assessed by a medical or health professional, if you do wish to transport, when I say that, all burns
that require dressing should be assessed by a
medical or health professional, should you wish to
transport them yourself, if it was something like a hand or a foot, you could put that into
a clean plastic food bag and actually depriving the burn of air will make it less painful. So make sure you have cooled
it for at least 15 minutes if you’re contemplating
dressing it yourself. You could use a little bit of cling film. Take a couple of the bits off the top so that it’s more sterile inside, and just loosely wrap it. You don’t want to put
anything tight over a burn, because the burn will swell. And if you put something tight, particularly if it’s round like this, as it expands and swells, you can actually constrict the blood flow, so just loosely over. Please do not attempt to
put any creams or potions or anything else on a burn other than a properly recognised
foil-packed burn dressing, again, once you have
cooled the burn properly. So nothing else that says for minor burns. Please don’t, because
anything that you put on we will have to scrape off in hospital, and that will hurt, and it makes life harder. Burns to the hands,
the feet, the genitals, the throat, and all the way around a limb for the reasons I’ve said
previously, are most serious, and if it is caused by a chemical burn, make sure you run under cool running water for at least 15 minutes and
be careful of the runoff because whatever’s burned them could end up burning you too. I hope that’s been helpful. There’s plenty more
resources on my website,, and there’s loads more in my book too, available on Amazon
and in good bookstores. Thank you for listening. That’s Emma Hammett, First Aid for Life.

1 thought on “First Aid for Burns”

  1. Correct recommendation – just add the duration which is 20 mins of cooling. Don't use ice or anything else for that matter. Cover burns with clingfilm or a clean lint free preferably sterile cloth or dressing. Burns in kids, old people or which are large or deep go to hospital. Burns to delicate areas like face, hands, feet groin armpits also go to hospital.

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