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Fire Burns: Treatment And Prevention Tips

May 3-9 is Arson Awareness Week 2020, which focuses on the crucial role that firefighters play in the community to protect the public in emergency situations.

Fire accidents can occur anywhere unexpectedly including homes, factories and health-care facilities. In the United States, annually, 2 million fire accidents are reported [1]. According to the India Risk Survey 2017 report, in India, the risk of fire accidents has been ranked fifth followed by crime, accidents and threats to women safety [2].

Exposure to fire can cause fire burns that can damage the skin tissues and cause permanent scarring of the skin. Fire burns can be a minor medical emergency or life-threatening.

So, it is important to treat the burns and take the necessary precautions to help prevent them.


Immediate First Aid Treatment For Fire Burns

• Remove hot or burned clothing from the person's body. If the clothing sticks to the skin, cut or tear around it.

• Immediately run cool water over the burn for sometime till the area is cooled. It will help relieve the pain after the injury. Avoid applying ice on a burn as it may delay healing and may make it worse.

• Cover the burn with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth.

• Avoid applying butter, oil, lotions or creams on a burn.


When To Seek Medical Help

• If you notice increased pain, swelling, redness, oozing or fever.

• A blister has developed which is larger than two inches or oozes.

• Redness and pain lasting more than two hours.

• The hands, feet, face or genitals are burned.


Tips To Prevent Fire Burns

• Avoid leaving food cooking on the stove unattended.

• Do not place or spray aerosols near an open flame.

• Don't carry your child while cooking near the stove.

• Keep electrical appliances away from water.

• Don't cook while wearing loose-fitting clothes that could catch fire from the stove.

• Unplug irons and similar electrical appliances when not in use.

• Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps.

• When using chemicals, wear protective clothing and eyewear.

• Put smoke alarms in your room.

• Keep a fire extinguisher.

• Have a professional electrician check the wiring of your house at least once every five years.

• Don't leave candles unattended.

• Don't smoke on the bed.

• Check your car before getting into it.

• Use containers which are safe for microwave use.

• Keep matches and lighters away from areas that could ignite a fire.

• Do not use hairdryers or other electrical appliances near the sink or a full tub.

• Don't leave heaters unattended.

• Keep flammable materials like wood or newspaper away from stoves and fireplaces.

• Don't store anything near a water heater or furnace.

• Store gasoline outside in a detached shed or garage in small amounts in a sealed container.

• Never use gasoline to start a fire.

• Never use elevator when there is a fire in your building.

• Don't keep cracked electrical cords in your home.

• Never connect more than two electrical cords.

• If smoke arises from an appliance, unplug immediately and have it serviced.


Common FAQs

1. Should you cover a burn or let it breathe?

A. You can cover the burn or blisters with a clean, dry, loose bandage. Ensure that the bandage doesn't touch the burn.

2. Is Vaseline good for burns?

A. Wash the burn under cool running water and apply thick petroleum jelly over it and cover it with a loose bandage.

3. How long till a burn stops hurting?

A. Partial-thickness burns takes ten days to two weeks to heal and large burns may take three to four weeks to heal.

Story first published: Friday, May 8, 2020, 12:14 [IST]
Read more about: fire burns treatment prevention tips
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