First aid tips – treating burns

In an emergency situation, there is no substitution for proper and thorough first aid training. However, there are some basic tips that everyone should know, regardless of how much first aid training they have undergone.

Burns are amongst the most common types of injury you are likely to encounter. Serious burns should only be treated by a trained first aider or medical professional, but you can deal with minor burns simply by remembering the following advice:

  • The best way to treat a burn is to cool it under cold running water – do this for at least 10 minutes to reduce pain, swelling and lessen the impact of the injury
  • Once cooled, you can prevent the burn becoming infected by covering it with a clean plastic bag or cling film – this won’t stick to the burn and may also reduce pain for the sufferer by keeping air away from the skin
  • Remove jewellery or clothing from the burn, but only if the item isn’t sticking to the skin –wear disposable gloves by doing this
  • For serious burns or an injury affecting a child, always call 999.
  • Whilst waiting for further help, do your best to keep the person calm and treat them for shock (you can learn more about shock treatment on a first aid training course).