First aid for burns: Dos and don’ts
Your little one has burned herself and blisters are now forming on her tender skin. What do you do?
In more than 98 per cent of the burn injury cases seen at KKH, first aid was not given appropriately, says Dr Gale Lim, head and consultant at the department of plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). This can be dangerous.
“If the burn is not appropriately treated in the first hour, this can lead to burn conversion, which is a superficial second-degree burn becoming a deep second-degree burn in the ensuing days,” Dr Lim explains.
A deeper burn takes a longer time to heal and has a greater risk for scarring, she warns.
Here, the KKH experts share the dos and don’ts of handling scalds or burn injuries.
• Remove your child’s hot or wet clothes.
• Cool the burn under running tap water for about 20 minutes to prevent further thermal injury to the skin.
• Cover the burn with a clean towel and keep your child warm.
• Seek medical attention.
• Call for an ambulance if you notice breathing difficulty, especially if there are extensive burns or burns due to fire or flame.
• Stop irrigating the burn with running water when you notice blisters forming. Blisters usually form minutes after the burn and they are related to the depth of the burn.
• Use inappropriate substances on the burn. Oilbased creams, toothpaste or vinegar do not cool the burn down. You may introduce bacteria onto the wound if you apply toothpaste on it. The acid in vinegar may cause further acid burns, injuring the skin further.