How Can You Prevent Getting Burned?

How Can You Prevent Getting Burned?

With winter on the horizon, many families turn up the heat to keep the chills at bay. That means more coal burning fires, paraffin heaters, and electrical heating appliances.

Sadly, this time of the year is a window of opportunity for burn accidents to happen and despite being preventable, an estimated 180 000 people worldwide, are dying every year due to burns with majority of fatalities occurring in low and middle income households.

Burns vary in degrees and require different types of treatment depending on their severity. In South Africa, a leading cause of burn accidents is thermal injuries from kerosene (paraffin) cookstove incidents, with many of the victims tragically being children aged between 4 and 18 years old where burns are the third highest cause of death.


Keep Children Away from Matches, Fires or Heating Elements

Having basic first aid knowledge can help you save a life as there is not always a paramedic in the vicinity, and accidents can happen anywhere. When someone is injured acting accordingly could be the difference between life and death, as a rule, always call for emergency services as soon as possible, but while they are on their way, there are several actions you can take to stabilise the patient.

Keeping a basic first aid kit near you to attend to a wound, can help when waiting for an emergency service. If you do not know the emergency number of your closest fire department, having the iER App downloaded or storing the iER Emergency Number (061 10 60 80) on your phone can save a life, in the case of a burn or a fire.


Read more on what to include in your first aid kit here.

The treatment of a burn is dependent upon the severity of the injury. There a 3 types of burns:

  • First-degree burns are superficial and mild, with no blisters.
  • Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and dermis skin layers, that is the first and second layer of the skin and often result in blisters and a throbbing or stinging sensation.
  • Third-degree burns sear through the full thickness of your skin and reach underlying tissue.

In general, first-degree burns can be adequately treated with proper first aid measures administered at home.

Second-degree burns can cover more than 15 percent of an adult’s body or 10 percent of a child’s body. Burns that affect the face, hands, or feet, should receive immediate medical attention, especially third-degree burns.

Use the iER App to report burn emergencies right away, even if the burn appears ‘mild’, as mild burns can sometimes cause skin and tissue damage.


Read More about Emergency Burn Contingencies here:

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