First Aid for Burns and how to prevent them

– Hello, I’m Emma Hammett, the Founder and CEO of First Aid for Life, and the author of Burns,
Falls and Emergency Calls. Today I’m going to talk
to you about burns. It’s National Burns Day,
and it’s a good opportunity for us just to focus in on
common causes for burns, and also on prevention, and
just quick basic treatment. So, common causes: things
like kettles, hot drinks, a cup of tea, even if it’s
been waiting for 10 minutes, can still be hot enough to burn a child or an elderly person. So, just make sure you’re never passing cups of tea over someone’s head, you’re never leaving them within reach, and you’re just aware. Curling tongs, things
like button batteries, they will burn if somebody
eats them as well. So a button battery will actually, even a dead battery, will have
some charge remaining in it and can cause damage to children. So just keep all those sort
of things out of reach, same with chemicals as well. Never be tempted to decant chemicals. And we’ve all got lots of
that sort of information, there’s loads more on our website as well, about tips to keep everyone
safe and prevent burns, particularly as well with
the fireworks around. Be really careful. Okay, so what to do if you are burned? Cool running water. Do you take clothes off or leave them on? If there’s any risk that
the clothes have stuck, then leave them in place, and cool running water over the area. But if you can remove the
clothes, and they haven’t stuck, you’re better to remove them, because you can cool the
area more effectively if there aren’t clothes on top. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool running water if you possibly can, because running water
will keep cooling it, where is if you immerse it,
into a bowl or something, then that will actually get warmer as you leave your hand in there. Okay, so cool running water. Remove anything that is tight, or will get tighter as the burn swells. So remove any jewellery or
anything that will constrict. Cool running water. Cool, cool, cool, and cool. Time it, because you’re unlikely to leave it under the cool running
water for long enough, unless you time it. At least 10 minutes. Think of a joint of meat,
you’ve taken it out of the oven, to rest it, it’s still cool, or rather it’s still hot,
and it takes proper cooling under cooling running water to cool it. We are meat, we will be cooking, so cool it effectively. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool. If the burn is on a child and
is bigger than a 50p piece, then it’s quite a serious
burn if it’s blistered and the skins broken in any way. So, get a medical
professional to look at it. Keep it under cool running water so that you’re cooling it properly. Cool it for at least 10
minutes, ideally for 15. Keep the person warm, and
watch for signs of shock. Shock is made worse when somebody is cold, when they are frightened,
and when they’re in pain. So with burns, it’s quite possible that they may go into shock. So look out for that, and
make sure that you are cooling the burn, but not the casualty. So keep them as warm and
dry as you possibly can. So cool running water. If you want to dress it, then once it has cooled effectively, and properly and completely, so at least 20 minutes if you’re
going to dress it yourself, then you can put it into, if it’s a hand, you could put it into
a sterile plastic bag, and once you’ve covered the nerve endings it will be less painful and it
will also prevent infection, or it should make infection less likely. Cling film, if you take a couple
of layers off the outside, then you’re getting to a more
sterile part of cling film. You apply it loosely
over the effected area, because if you were to wrap it tightly, it will constrict as the burn swells. So apply it loosely, and
always get a burn seen. Never be tempted to touch a burn, prod it, never break blisters, wear
sterile gloves if you can. Burns gets infected very, very easily. If you’ve got some burn gel, so proper burn gel type stuff, you can put that on after you have cooled the burn effectively. It’s quite gloopy, it’s
in that sort of stuff, you know if you buy a TV or something, the thing that covers the screen, it’s that sort of material
that it’s on with gloopy gel. So be aware, it will come out messy, so wear gloves if you can. Gloopy gel, pour it over the area, carefully bring out the
dressing bit, put that over and pour the rest of it on top as well, and have a dressing
ready, a sterile dressing, to loosely wrap around to stop all that gloopiness getting everywhere. And that will keep cooling the burn, and it will mean that it
will continue to cool it, it will help it, so that
when we see it in hospital, it will be an easier burn for
us to look at and to treat. So please don’t put any
other creams, gels, potions, anything that anybody has
ever told you is a good idea to put on burns, probably isn’t. The only exception is for
sunburn, then a neat aloe vera, or as concentrated aloe
vera as you can get, can work very well after
someone’s been in a tepid shower. And always get seen by
a health professional if there’s a danger of heat
stroke or heat exhaustion. So, I hope that’s been useful. That’s Emma Hammett, First Aid for Life, and online

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