First Aid Tips
Burns can be caused by fire, the sun, chemicals,
heated objects or fluids, and electricity. They can
be minor problems or life-threatening emergencies.
Distinguishing a minor burn from a more serious burn
involves determining the degree of damage to the tissues
of the body.
If you are not sure how serious the burn is, seek
emergency medical help.
First-degree burns are those in which only the outer
layer of skin is burned. The skin is usually red and
some swelling and pain may occur. Unless the burn
involves large portions of the body, it can be treated
Second-degree burns are those in which the first
layer of skin has been burned through and the second
layer of skin is also burned. In these burns, the
skin reddens intensely and blisters develop. Severe
pain and swelling also occur. If a second-degree burn
is no larger than 2 or 3 inches in diameter, it can
be treated at home.
If the burn covers a larger area, seek medical attention.
You may need a tetanus booster.
Third-degree burns are the most serious and involve
all layers of skin. Fat, nerves, muscles, and even
bones may be affected. Areas may be charred black
or appear a dry white. If nerve damage is substantial,
there may be no pain at all.
These burns should receive emergency medical attention.
Follow these steps
when treating minor burns at home:
1.If the skin is not broken, run cool water over
the burn for several minutes.
2.Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or clean
3.Take aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve any swelling
Seek emergency treatment immediately for major burns.
Until an emergency
unit arrives, follow these steps:
Do not place any creams, ointments or ice on the
burned area or break blisters.
1. Remove the person from the source of the burn
(fire, electrical current, etc.).
2. If the person is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth
(see Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation).
3. Remove all smoldering clothing to stop further
4. If the person is breathing sufficiently, cover
the burned area with a cool, moist, sterile bandage
or clean cloth.