Burns are caused by heat, friction, or chemicals (see Chemical burns); scalds are caused by hot liquids. If severe, either may affect the whole body, not just the burnt or scalded part. The main dangers from large burns are fluid loss leading to Shock, and infection. Deep burns are less painful than superficial ones; this is because in deep bums the nerves have been destroyed. Any burn bigger than the palm of the hand needs urgent medical attention.
This is what you should do to help someone who has been burned in a fire.
1. Prevent further damage by removing the cause of the burn, or pulling the casualty clear of the fire, taking great care not to get burned yourself. If someone is on fire, push him or her to the ground and smother the flames with a rug, heavy coat, curtains, or any heavy fabric that happens to be nearby, but take great care not to burn your hands in the process. Dial 911 at the first opportunity
2. Having removed the casualty from danger, immerse any burnt areas, provided the skin is not broken, in cold water for at least 10 minutes, or until the pain dies down. Hypericum and Calendula mother tinctures added to the water (20 drops of each per litre [2 pints] of water) enhance its pain-relieving effect. Cooling also reduces the severity of the burn, and in the case of chemical burns washes off the chemical and dilutes any that is left. Remove rings, bracelets, and any other jewellery from burnt areas – they will be difficult to remove once the skin swells. If there is burnt clothing sticking to the skin, leave it; immerse skin and clothing in cold water.
3. Prevent infection. Apply non-fluffy, clean dressings. Do not use cotton wool, lint, or adhesive tape. If there is burnt clothing sticking to the skin, leave it – it will have been sterilised by the heat; put the dressing over it. If the area of burnt skin is extensive, cover it with lots of small dressings; this makes them easier to remove in hospital later.
4. Do not burst blisters or apply any lotions, greases or antiseptics. Be careful not to breathe or cough over the burnt area and do not touch it. You should not handle a burn victim more than is absolutely necessary. Do Not attempt to remove any dressings.
5. Minimise fluid loss. If the casualty is conscious, give frequent sips of water, especially if he or she is vomiting. Keep this up until you get to hospital. Fluid loss into the tissues may cause a person suffering from severe burns to go into Shock; BE ALERT FOR THIS.