Winter health: Staying safe on Bonfire Night

BonfireIf you are out and about this weekend celebrating Bonfire Night, remember to be safe and to not put yourself in a dangerous situation. However, if something does go wrong, here is a step-by-step guide on how to treat a burn:

  • Stop the burning process by removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water or smothering the flames with a blanket. Never put yourself at risk of getting burnt too.
  • Remove any clothing or jewellery on the person that is near to the burnt area of skin. But don’t try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin as this could cause further damage.
  • Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10-30 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances.
  • Keep the injured person warm by using blankets or layers of clothing, but don’t put them on the burnt area. Keeping the person warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person’s body drops below 35ºC which is possible if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
  • Cover the burn in cling film by putting a layer over the burn rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.

Treat the pain from the burn with paracetamol or ibuprofen. Once you have completed these steps, you must decide whether further medication and treatment is necessary.

For minor burns you can attend the Minor Injuries Unit at Mexborough Montagu Hospital. If the injury is serious, you should attend A&E for:

  • Large or deep burns: any burns bigger than the affected person’s hand
  • Full thickness burns of all sizes: these burns cause white or charred skin
  • Partial thickness burns on the face hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals: these are burns that cause blisters
  • Whether your burn is mild, minor or serious, you should seek medical advice if:
  • The wound becomes painful or smelly.
  • You develop a temperature of 38°C or higher.
  • The dressing becomes soaked with fluid leaking from the wound.
  • The wound has not healed after two weeks.

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