Treating Emergency Burns

Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, discusses Treating Emergency Burns.

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Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, discusses Treating Emergency Burns.
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Featuring Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA
Treating Emergency Burns
Duration: 2 minutes, 53 seconds

Burns are common injuries seen in the emergency department.

Burns can be from very simple injuries to very devastating injuries. They can come from as simple as burning your hands on hot water to a serious burn related to a house fire.

Simple burns tend to be burns that occur or result in redness to the skin or maybe some blistering. First thing to do when you burn yourself is to put your hand or put the extremity under cold water. You want to cool the burn. If you're having ongoing pain, then it should be assessed by a healthcare provider.

Burns come in grades of severity. A first degree burn is where you have redness to the skin and it’s like a sunburn. They can be quite painful, but generally are not too serious. A second degree burn is when you start to get blistering of the skin, and if you get blistering of the skin, you should seek medical attention. A third degree burn is a very serious burn where the skin will actually turn black.

The treatment for burns will be based on the severity and extent of the burn. For simple first degree burns where there’s just redness of the skin and not covering a large area of the body, the treatment is really symptomatic treatment.

It will consist of cooling the skin, using an antibiotic ointment, and local, or over the counter analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you’re having ongoing pain, then it should be assessed by a healthcare provider.

For more extensive burns (second or third degree burns) it’s important that you seek medical attention for treatment. These burns can cause significant damage to not only the skin but underlying tissues, and an assessment by your healthcare provider will be critical in the management of these burns.

So remember, if it’s more than a first degree burn, so if you have blisters or black skin or if the burn is greater than the size of the palm of your hand, you should seek medical attention through your health care provider or local emergency department.

In addition, if the burn is circumferential, that is if it goes around your arm or your finger or your leg, then again, seek medical attention. It’s important to seek medical attention sooner than later in order to minimize the damage that the burn is causing not only to the skin but the underlying tissues.

Presenter: Dr. Tony Taylor, Emergency Physician, New Westminster, BC

Local Practitioners: Emergency Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.