What Should I Put On A Burn?

10th November 2011

When the skin is burnt (by a hot liquid, hot vapour, a chemical, friction etc), the skin may be open, weeping or charred. After adequately cooling the area of injury with cool running water, it is important to put the right type of dressing on it.

Why do I need to put a dressing on the burn?
This area of raw skin needs to be protected from any stimulation of the exposed nerve endings (ie a dressing acts as a painkiller too) and it is also important to help prevent any germs getting into the wound and causing a nasty infection.

What should I use?
A sterile special burn dressing from a good First Aid Kit is ideal. If you don’t have one available, then use A4 sized pieces of clingfilm gently place on the burn and secured with paper tape (not too tightly). The inside of a new plastic sandwich bag will work well too – a whole hand or foot can be put inside the bag and then tape placed around the ‘cuff’ to secure it.

What shouldn’t I use?
Anything fluffy or dirty should be avoided as it will leave bits on the burn and increase the chance of an infection. An ordinary wound dressing or bandage may stick to the burn and be painful when the doctors have to remove it. As this stage, do not put any oils, creams or lotions on the wound – seek medical help first.

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