Safety At Home

First Aid

Burns and Scalds

Seek medical aid urgently if:

  • the burn is deep, even if the patient does not feel any pain
  • a superficial burn is larger than a 20 cent piece
  • the burn involves airway, face, hands or genitals
  • you are unsure of the severity of the burn.

Do not:

  • apply lotions, ointment or fat to burns
  • touch injured areas or burst any blisters
  • remove anything sticking to the burn
  • use ice.

What to do

1. Follow DRSABCD.

2. Extinguish burning clothing:

  • STOP the patient from moving around
  • DROP/pull the patient to the ground with blanket or similar
  • ROLL the patient along ground until flames extinguished.

3. As soon as possible, hold the burnt area under cool running water for 20 minutes, for thermal, scalds, chemical, bitumen and electrical burns.

4. Remove jewellery and clothing from the burnt area unless stuck to the burn.

5. Prevent infection by covering the burn wound with a loose and light non-stick dressing, preferably clean, dry, lint free (non-fluffy) material e.g. plastic cling film.

6. Manage for shock.

7. Seek medical attention.


If cool running water is not available, hydrogel may be used. Hydrogel, if exposed
to air and left in place for long periods, can be associated with the development of
hypothermia (extreme cold), especially in the elderly or young children.


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