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What is the first step in treating a burn?

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Burn First Aid proceeds as follows:
  • Assess the type of burn: Electrical, chemical, thermal, etc.
  • ** If chemical, decontaminate and protect rescuers. Water flush usually -- see 3rd degree for contraindications.
    • Note that electrical burns may not appear on the surface. Also make certain source of electricity is no longer active.
  • Assess type of burns --- 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree.
  • Assess burn coverage -- Rule of 9's.
  • For 1st degree burns:
  • ** Make sure the skin is no longer at high temp. Immerse with cool water.
    • Cover the burn with dry sterile dressings.
    • OTC analgesics.
    • Don't use oil based ointments.
    • If there's no need for secondary aid, topical painkillers can help.
    • Maintain patient's body temp.
  • For 2nd degree burns
  • ** Cool the burn with cool water -- not ice.
    • Don't pop the blisters.
    • Cover losely with sterile gauze.
    • If the burn is a friction burn (heel blisters are typical) and the subject msut walk to evacuate, consider Mole Skin.
  • For 3rd degree burns
  • ** Don't remove clothing at the scene.
    • Make sure clothing is not still burning. Water ONLY to put out fire.
  • ** DON'T chill the burn -- you risk shock.
    • Monitor for CPR (ABC).
    • Elevate burned body parts above level of heart if safe and practical.
    • Cover the area of the burn with cool moist sterile bandages.
    • Consider dehydration as a problem if immedaite evac isn't possible.
    • Observe for airway burns and be prepared to counter swelling.
    • Try to keep sterile as much as possible -- burns infect easily.
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