Burns and scalds are injuries to the body’s tissue or skin and are classified into 3 degrees of severity, according to the depth of the injury:
- First degree: causing damage to the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis
- Second degree: causing deeper damage to the layer beneath the epidermis
- Third degree: causing the deepest damage and destruction of all layers of the skin and damage to tissues underneath
- First degree burns: Red and dry skin without blisters
- Second degree burns: Wet and red skin; the skin will turn pale white when poked or pressure is applied; blisters appear immediately or after a while
- Third degree burns: Severe burn, no elasticity, and no pain
- At the scene of the accident: Cool the area under cold running water or apply a cold-water compress. Do not break any blisters. Do not apply toothpaste, ice, fish sauce or other home remedies.
- At the hospital: Clean the burned area with a saline solution. Apply silver sulfadiazine cream. Change the dressing after 24-48 hours. Give pain medication regularly and antibiotics if necessary. Wound management is under care of burn surgeon and dermatologist.
Hospitalization is required in the following situations:
- Burns cover a large area.
- Patient is younger than 5 years old or older than 55 years old.
- Electrical burns
- Some third degree burns with circumferential burns that go right around the body, arm, leg or finger
- Patient has another serious medical condition such as diabetes or takes immunosuppressive medications
Apply extra caution when handling hot items or electrical appliances.