Burn Awareness: Prevention and Treatment 

by | 15 May, 2024 | Uncategorized

Burn injuries, though often preventable, remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly among children. Understanding the fundamentals of burn awareness, from prevention strategies to proper treatment protocols, is essential for mitigating risks and promoting effective care. 

How to prevent or limit burns: 

  • Hotplates: Keep them out of reach of children, especially when placed on the floor or a low table. 
  • Kettles: Similar precautions should be taken with kettles, ensuring cords are not within reach and the kettle is not easily overturned. 
  • Heaters and Fireplaces: Proper usage and supervision are crucial, especially during South African winter months. 
  • Bathwater: Always test the temperature before allowing children to enter, and never let them handle pouring the bath themselves. 
  • Hot Beverages: Keep them away from children and avoid placing them precariously on or close to table edges. 
  • Supervision: Never leave children unattended in potentially dangerous environments. 
  • Safety Education: Educate children about the dangers of lighters, matches, and flammable liquids, and teach them the Stop, Drop, and Roll technique. 

How to treat burns: 

  • Remove the person from the source of the burn. 
  • Remove any clothing or jewellery near the affected area, but leave melted or firmly adherent clothing for experienced personnel to handle. 
  • Do not apply butter, as it does little to alleviate pain or aid in recovery. Moreover, its oil-based composition exacerbates the injury. (You can read more about how this incorrect information and burn incident inspired a girl to pursue a career in EMS https://www.er24.co.za/en/infohub/awareness/burns-awareness-in-south-africa.html) 
  • Cool the affected area with cool running water (not ice or ice water). 
  • Cover the burn with non-adhesive dressings or cling film. A good example of dressing to keep at home is Burnshield (For a more in-depth description of when and how to use Burnshield, please visit their website at this link. https://www.burnshield.com/burns-and-treatment-of-burns-frequently-asked-questions/) 
  • Seek medical attention by calling your doctor or going to the nearest emergency room. 
  • Ensure up-to-date tetanus immunisation, especially for individuals with burn injuries, with boosters administered as necessary every ten years. 

When to Seek Medical Assistance: 

  • Signs of Infection: Increased pain, redness, swelling, fever, or oozing. 
  • Burns to sensitive areas like the hands or face. 
  • Burns caused by electric shocks. 

Burn awareness encompasses preventive measures and effective treatment protocols. By understanding the potential risks associated with burns and adopting appropriate safety precautions, individuals can reduce the likelihood of sustaining injuries and facilitate optimal recovery following an accident. Recognising the appropriate timing for seeking medical assistance ensures prompt intervention, minimizing the risk of complications. 

If you ever need medical assistance, please visit us at Well – Family Practice in Northcliff, Johannesburg or if it is an emergency please go to your nearest Hospital. 

Extra information on burn awareness: