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What To Do If You’ve Suffered A Burn Injury

Burns can occur from hot or flammable items at home, interactions with dangerous chemicals at work, building or car fires, contact with live electrical components, and a number of other circumstances. Burn injuries can damage or completely destroy the skin and underlying tissues. Severe burns are some of the most catastrophic injuries a person can suffer. Prompt treatment is imperative to minimize the damage. Here are five steps to take immediately after suffering a burn injury:

Stop the Burn Immediately

Your first priority is to stop the source of the burn. If you or your clothing is on fire, stop, drop, and roll until the flames go out. Remove smoldering clothes or material from your body. If clothing sticks to burned skin, cut around it. If your burns come from contact with a hot liquid, steam, or other material, get away from the item immediately. Take off restrictive clothing or jewelry, as burns can swell quickly.

Assess Your Injury

Your next actions will depend on the severity and type of burn. A first-degree burn will not show blistered skin. Run the burned skin under cool running water until pain subsides. Protect the burn with clean cloth or non-adhesive bandage. Do not apply ointments, as this can lead to infection. A second-degree burn will blister. Immerse in cool (not cold) water for 15 minutes, or use a compress if water isn’t available. Do not apply ice or break blisters. Cover loosely with a sterile cloth or gauze. Elevate the burned area above the heart, if possible, and elevate feet about one foot. This can prevent the body from going into shock.

Know When to See a Doctor

First-degree burns often do not need medical attention. If a second-degree burn requires antibiotics and pain medications, go to the doctor. Third-degree burns affect all layers of the skin, and always require medical care. Call 911 and get to a hospital if:

  • A burn is of the third degree
  • If the skin looks charred or leathery
  • If a burn blister oozes or is larger than two inches
  • If the face, genitals, hands, or feet have burns
  • If the victim is a senior citizen or infant

Doctors will give serious burn victims oxygen and fluids, as well as other treatments such as skin grafts for the affected area. They can also monitor and prevent infection, a major potential complication of burn injuries.

Follow Treatment Plans

Always listen to your doctor’s treatment plan for burns and obey it exactly. Burns are sensitive injuries that may require professional monitoring for a few days or weeks during recovery. Risk of infection and other complications will last until the burns heal. Straying from treatment plans can worsen your burns, extend recovery time, and harm your chances of financial recovery.

Call a Burn Injury Attorney

Burns that result in medical bills, physical pain, emotional suffering, missed time at work, amputation, disability, or scarring and disfigurement, deserve attention from an Arizona burn injury attorney. Victims of serious burns should call a burn injury lawyer to discuss their legal opportunities. There may be an individual or entity liable for paying for damages, such as a negligent employer or careless product manufacturer. A conversation with an attorney can help burn victims explore their rights and options.


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