How to Deal with Cuts and Burns of Your Child
A covered wound heals more quickly and is less likely to leave a scar. How many times do you remember scraping your knee on the playground and your mom suggesting you “air out” your battle wound? As you’ve already discovered for yourself, Mother didn’t always know best, even if she made you a special milkshake after you sustained your cuts and scrapes. A covered wound will heal faster, with less scarring, than an uncovered one.
If your child burns himself, stay away from the refrigerator and the freezer, but head for the faucet. First, you have to cool down the skin which will relieve pain and swelling. This is done by holding the burn under cool running water for about five minutes. Keep the water pressure gentle and low. You should submerge a burned hand or finger in a pan of cool, (not ice) – cold water. The faucet is suitable for this if the burn is on a forearm or other hard – to submerge area. Putting ice on exposed, delicate skin tissue can cause frostbite. Butter or any oil – based substance, like petroleum jelly, traps heat. Do not put baking soda or any powder on the burn.
When does, a burn require a doctor’s attention?
Burns vary in seriousness and should you should treat accordingly. So how do you know if your child has a minor burn that you can treat at home or something that requires a doctor’s attention? Here’s a quick guide, from mild to serious:
- A first-degree burn is the least serious, causing redness and swelling but no blistering. (A mild sunburn, for instance, is a first – degree burn.) Still, a first-degree burn hurts and should be treated with cool water as soon as possible to relieve pain and swelling. You don’t have to cover the burn or use any special creams, although some parents and pediatricians like pure aloe Vera gels, which have cooling and moisturizing properties. First degree burns don’t leave scars when treated properly. If you found your child in pain from a first-degree burn even after topical treatments like those recommended above and is over six months old, you can offer over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen.
- A second-degree burn causes blistering; a doctor should be consulted for a burn that causes blisters, which can develop an infection. Loosely cover the blistered area with sterile gauze (a clean towel or sheet will do) until you can see a doctor. Note that blisters can take up to twenty-four hours to form so that a first-degree burn can become a second-degree burn. Second-degree burns cause a significant amount of pain and always require a doctor’s attention and treatment. Do not pop any blisters or infection may ensue. Second-degree burns could result in scarring.
- A third-degree burn is where the skin is left white or charred, signaling serious tissue damage. In this instance, the skin is so badly burned away that blisters cannot form. This degree of burn is extremely serious, and you should seek out a doctor, emergency room, or burn center immediately. Seek medical attention if electrical or chemical contact causes the burn.