First Aid for Burns that
are Major/Severe

There are two approaches to First Aid for Burns and the treatment depends on the depth and extent of the tissue injury so First Aid for Major burns is different to First Aid for Minor Burns


Major/Severe Burns:-

Are second degree burns larger than the person's abdomen or the area of their hand spread out or Full thickness burns. Full thickness burns are called third degree and at times fourth degree. These extend into the deeper tissue and involve all layers of the skin and possibly all the way through to the bone. Areas may appear dry, white or charred black. These may be numb or painless because the nerves in these areas have been damaged.

First Aid for Burns (Major/severe):-

QUICK SUMMARY:

1. If person is on fire get them to drop and roll to help extinguish the flames.

2. Call emergency services.

3. If the person is not breathing start the CPR process.

4. Cover the burn area with a cool, moist (if possible sterile) dressing/s. A sheet will do if the area is large.

5. Remove any jewellery on or near the burn area. Do not remove jewellery if it is stuck

6. Elevate the burnt areas above the heart where possible. If injuries allow.

7. To help prevent shock lay the person down with legs elevated. This really can only be done if it is the extremities that have been effected.

8. Continue to monitor the person's breathing and pulse until medical help arrives.



NOW a more IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION for First Aid for Burns (Major/severe):-

1. If person is on fire get them to drop and roll to help extinguish the flames. Wrap the person in thick material such as a rug or blanket to help smother the flames. Use water to help put out the flames as well.

2. Call emergency services

3. If the person is not breathing start the CPR process. If you have any questions about CPR go to How to do CPR - Q & A.

4. Cover the burn area with a cool, moist (if possible sterile) dressing/s. A sheet will do if the area is large. Preferably not a material that is fluffy as fluff can enter the wound and cause complications later such as infection.

NOTE: Do Not run cold water over the burn as this can lead to shock.

  • An EXCEPTION were you need to use flowing water is when the injury has been caused by a CHEMICAL. It is vital to remove the cause of the burning just like you would remove the person from flames. This being the principal of moving the source of the burning to stop further damage. The water MUST NOT be cold but tepid (body temperature) so no noticeable change in temperature when you put your hand in the water and definitely NOT HOT to touch. If possible run water over chemical burn area for 20 minutes.

5. Remove any jewellery on or near the burn area as swelling can follow shortly after a burn. If swelling occurs jewellery can become tight and restrict circulation. Do not remove jewellery if it is stuck as this will cause more damage. Let medical help solve that problem.

6. Elevate the burnt areas above the heart where possible. This can help to reduce possible swelling.

7. To help prevent shock lay the person down with legs elevated. This really can only be done if it is the extremities that have been effected. Also cover the person with a blanket or jacket etc.

8. Continue to monitor the person's breathing and pulse until medical help arrives.

There are some No No's that need to be said when giving First Aid for Burns:

  • Do NOT remove burnt clothing that is stuck as this can damage the area further.
  • Do NOT immerse large severe burns in cold water as this may cause shock. This is mentioned above.
  • Do NOT apply burn ointments as these will need to be removed by the medical team so an assessment can be done. This can delay appropriate treatment and also cause further damage to the area.
  • Do NOT blow or cough on the burn as this can introduce infection.
  • Do NOT "pop" blister or disturb "dead" skin as this can introduce infection which is a common complication of burns.
  • Do NOT give food or water to a person who has a severe burn as they may require surgery. If surgery is needed it is best that the person not consume anything for a minimum of 6 hours prior to having anaesthetic. The reason for this is if the stomach has contents in it they can exit the stomach and be inhaled into the lungs or remain in the throat and cause difficulty breathing during the operation. Neither the patient nor the medical staff need this complication during surgery.
  • Do NOT position the person where their airway may be restricted e.g. no pillow under their head as they may have inhaled smoke and therefore may have airway burns.

I hope that this page on First Aid for Burns (Major/severe) gave you some great information that helped you.

Now that you have learnt First Aid for Burns (Major/severe) lets learn how to treat Minor Burns ...

Or you may want to learn more about:-

Burns Information

Performing CPR

First Aid for Shock

First Aid for Sunburn

First Aid for Fractures





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