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How to Care for Burns After an Accident

We don’t pretend to be doctors and we are not going to provide medical advice, but we wanted to share some basic tips and resources we have discovered over the years on how to care for burns after an accident. If you have been seriously injured in an accident or burned, please call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

Knowing how to care for burns could save a life. This is especially true since The American Burn Association estimates that there are more than 1 million burn injuries every year, and 500,000 burn accident injuries require medical treatment. They estimate 4,000 burns per year result in death, of which 3,500 are from fires and the other 500 are from auto and plane crashes, electricity, chemicals, hot liquids, and other types of burns.

Injuries resulting from a burn accident can cause severe pain, permanent cosmetic disfigurement and life-long emotional distress, and burn victims often require long-term medical care. Serious burn victims are often treated with skin grafts, and because skin grafts do not grow, multiple surgeries may be required.

Serious burns can result from:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Building fires
  • Scalding/hot water
  • Electrical accidents
  • Lighters and matches
  • Industrial accidents

This is why it is important to know how to care for burns if you or anyone around you has suffered a burn injury. The Mayo Clinic

offers advice for Minor burns, which include first and second-degree burns, and Major burns, which include third degree burns:

Minor Burns

If injuries are limited to an area no larger than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter, take the following action:

Cool the burn.
Run cool (not cold) running water over the burn for 10 or 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. If you are not able to run water, submerge the burn in cool water or cool it with cold compresses. This reduces swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. However, when learning how to care for burns, the number one thing you should remember is to never put ice on a burn.

Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage.
Wrap gauze loosely so as not to put too much pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the burn, reduces pain and protects blistered skin. Do not use fluffy cotton, or other material that may get infection-causing materials in the wound.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
These include Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or Tylenol. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin.

Major Burns

Always call 911 immediately for emergency medical help. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:

Do not remove burned clothing. Clothing may have molded into the skin. However, do make sure the victim is no longer in contact with smoldering materials or exposed to smoke or heat.

Don’t immerse large severe burns in cold water. Doing so could cause a drop in body temperature (hypothermia) and deterioration of blood pressure and circulation (shock).

Check for signs of circulation such as breathing, coughing or movement. If you do not identify signs of breathing or circulation, begin CPR.

Elevate the burned body part or parts. Raise above heart level, if possible.

Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist, sterile bandage; clean, moist cloth; or moist cloth towels.

Get a tetanus shot. Burn victims are susceptible to tetanus. If your last shot was more than five years ago, your doctor may recommend a tetanus shot booster.Knowing how to care for burns could save a life or lessen both the immediate and long-term suffering of a burn victim.

However, after the immediate danger has passed, it may be time to evaluate the accident and potentially seek compensation for your injury if you believe another person or company was at fault. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you through the process of filing a claim or lawsuit and will work to help you make a recovery for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, disfigurement, loss of normal life, loss of income, and any other losses sustained in a burn accident.

If you or a family member have suffered a burn injury, request a Free Case Consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a personal injury lawyer now in the Chicago, IL area.

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