The American Burn Association (ABA) estimates that in 2011 alone, over 486,000 people required medical treatment for serious burns. Although improved access to burn care has made it more likely that modern burn victims will survive, there are still far too many people affected by these painful, life-altering injuries each year – and in some cases, their loved ones unintentionally make the injuries worse in the aftermath of a burn.
To spread awareness about burn injuries (and how to treat them), the ABA has designated the first week of February as National Burn Awareness Week. Here at The Mellino Law Firm, we understand the agony that a burn injury can cause, and our skilled attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients seek compensation after a fire caused by negligence. If you or your loved ones have suffered because of a burn, we can help you explore your legal options and hold the right party accountable.
For National Burn Awareness Week, we’re reviewing 5 things you should never do after a serious burn. No matter the specific degree of your burn injuries, you can identify a serious burn injury by its appearance: If the burns are deep, larger than 3 inches in diameter, or appear charred, you should seek medical treatment right away.
Here are 5 things to avoid doing after a major burn injury:
- Don’t treat an open burn with water. Although it’s often recommended to run cool water over a burn, more serious burn wounds should not be treated with water at all – especially if the victim has large patches covering their body. Aside from introducing the risk of bacterial infection, cold water can cause hypothermia.
- Never use butter or ointment on a burn. It’s commonly believed that butter, cream-based ointments, sprays, and other home remedies can calm a serious burn injury. In reality, these substances only expose the victim to infection and make it more difficult for doctors to treat the injury.
- Don’t ever use ice or ice water on a burn. Many people reach for ice and ice water to ease the pain of a burn. However, this should be avoided at all costs, especially if the burn is second-degree or higher. Ice water may permanently damage the skin tissue and any other exposed layers.
- Never prop up the victim’s head with a pillow. If the face, neck, or torso has been seriously burned, the victim will face airway obstruction risks. By moving the burned person at the wrong angle or propping them up with a pillow, you may cause them to suffocate.
- Do not attempt to remove burned clothing. When clothing has melted and stuck to the burn victim’s body, leave it alone. Removing burned clothing could cause additional wounds (and extreme pain for the victim.)
There’s often more to a burn than meets the eye. For additional information on burn injuries, read one of our previous blog posts here.