Burns and Scalds

Minor Burns and Scalds 

Minor burns and scalds occur while cooking and usually arise from hot pans or the spillage of boiling water.  Treatment is by immersion in cold water (or any other cold liquid which is to hand such as milk or lemonade) for at least ten minutes before applying a sterile dressing.  Running cold water is evenmore effective and will reduce long-term damage from more serious scalds or burns.

Major Burns

Burns greater than 2.5cm/1” diameter or deeper than the surface of the skin

The most likely cause of major burns arises from the improper use of stoves.  These accidents will most probably occur while camping.  The most important action, after preventing further burning, is to douse the affected area with large quantities of cold liquid; this should not present a problem at the camp site which will probably be located near a water supply.  This cooling must continue for at least ten minutes and will help to reduce pain.  While this treatment is taking place, arrangements to evacuate the casualty to hospital must be initiated.  Do not touch or remove any clothing which is sticking to the burn or apply any ointments.  Do not break blisters.  Try to prevent infection of the wound by improvising some form of clean, dry covering such as a triangular bandage or even a plastic bag or cling-film, although this will not be as easy as at home or in the workplace.  The patient must be monitored and the usual checks of airway, breathing, circulation and shock must be carried out.