Burns

Causes:

Contact with thermal (hot or cold), radiation, electrical, or chemical agents.

Types:

  • Superficial-Outer layer of skin only. Redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. Does not blister.
  • Partial thickness-Deeper. Blisters, swelling, and pain.
  • Full thickness-All layers of skin. Charred or white skin. May be lack of pain if nerve damage-otherwise, severe pain.

Treatment:

  • Superficial - Cool the burned area with water. Apply lotion, cream or aloe. Do not use ointments. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed.
  • Partial thickness - Cool as above. No cream or ointment. Protect blisters with dry sterile or clean cloth. See a health care provider immediately. To make an appointment at Student Health & Wellness, call 319-335-8394. Do not open blisters without health care provider's consent. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed.
  • Full thickness - Get immediate emergency care. Flush chemical burns with cool water for 30 minutes. No cream or ointment. Cover with plastic wrap if it is available. If not, use a moist bandage if available. Watch for coma, shock, or heart or respiratory arrest. Anyone with this type of burn should have a tetanus booster if the last booster was given more than 5 years ago.

Prevention:

Avoid sunlight for long periods; use sunscreen. Follow safety precautions with hazardous materials. Prevent fires.