The burn assessment is a critical step in determining the severity of the injury and deciding on the appropriate treatment. To avoid repetition and provide a complete and professional assessment, it is important to follow these steps:
- Identify the source of the burn: burns can be caused by a variety of sources, including flames, hot liquids, chemicals or radiation. It is important to identify the source of the burn to understand the nature of the injury.
- Assess the depth of the burn: Burns can be classified into four levels of depth: first-degree burns, superficial second-degree burns, deep second-degree burns and third-degree burns. This assessment can be made by looking at skin color, texture and the presence of blisters.
- Determine the area of the burn: The area of the burn can be estimated using the rule of 9 or the palm rule. These methods estimate the area of the burn based on the size of the affected person's hand.
- Assess Vital Signs: In the event of a severe burn, it is important to monitor vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. These indicators can give an indication of the severity of the injury.
- Assess potential complications: burns can lead to a variety of complications, such as infection, hypovolemia, hypothermia and shock. It is important to monitor these potential complications and treat them promptly.
By following these steps, you can provide a thorough and professional burn assessment, which can help determine appropriate treatment and minimize potential complications.
How to assess the severity of burns and take appropriate action
Burns are one of the most common emergencies and can be a source of stress for those trying to care for a burned person. Knowing how to assess the severity of a burn and take appropriate action is essential to ensure the safety and health of the burn victim. In this comprehensive guide, we'll teach you how to assess the severity of burns, the first aid steps to take if you have a burn, and best practices for preventing burns.
It is important to note that if you are faced with a severe burn or have any doubts about the severity of the burn, it is crucial to seek professional medical help immediately. Severe burns can cause permanent damage and can be, in some extreme cases, potentially fatal if not managed quickly and properly. However, by knowing the signs of burn severity and how to act accordingly, you can help manage a burn emergency effectively and protect the health of the burn victim.
- Introduction to Burns
- Assessment of burn severity
- First aid procedures for burns
- Preventing burns
Introduction to burns
Burns are a form of physical injury caused by:
- Contact with extreme heat (e.g., the burning element of a stove),
- Fire (e.g. a fire at a campsite),
- Radiation (e.g. the sun),
- Electricity (e.g. an electrical outlet),
- Certain chemicals (e.g. paint stripper)
Depending on the degree and severity of the burn, it can cause minor redness and swelling, severe tissue damage, or even death in extreme cases.
Burns can be classified according to the manner in which they are inflicted: chemical burns, electrical burns, thermal burns (burns from contact with hot objects) and radiation burns. It is important to understand both the types and degrees of burns in order to properly assess them and provide appropriate care.
Definition of Burns: A burn is an injury to the skin caused by a source of heat, electricity, chemicals or radiation. Burns can be classified into different grades depending on the severity of the injury.
Common Causes of Burns: Burns can be caused by a variety of sources, including
- For example, a burn from a hot stove or iron.
- For example, a burn from a fire or cigarette.
- For example, a burn caused by contact with an electrical wire or a defective electrical appliance.
- For example, a burn caused by contact with acid or other corrosive substances.
- For example, a burn caused by excessive exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light.
Types of burns: There are different types of burns, each with different characteristics and degrees of severity:
- Thermal burns: caused by heat, such as a burn from a hot stovetop or iron.
- Chemical burns: caused by chemicals, such as a burn caused by contact with acid or corrosive cleaning products.
- Electrical burns: caused by electricity, such as a burn from contact with a faulty electrical wire or appliance.
- Radiation burns: caused by radiation, such as a burn from excessive sunlight or ultraviolet light.
- Choking burns: caused by smoke or gas inhalation, such as a burn from a house fire.
Burn severity assessment
Burns can range from mild to very severe, depending on the type and depth of the burn. Assessing the severity of a burn is an important step in treatment and determining whether or not medical attention is needed.
When assessing the severity of burns, there are four general grades to consider: first-degree (superficial) burns, second-degree (partial thickness) burns, third-degree (deep thickness) burns and fourth-degree (full thickness) burns.
First degree burns: These are superficial burns that only affect the top layer of the skin, causing redness and pain but no blisters or skin lesions.
Second degree burns: These are partial thickness burns that affect both the upper and middle layers of the skin, causing redness, swelling and blistering.
Third-degree burns: These are full-thickness burns that penetrate all three layers of the skin, resulting in deep tissue damage and possible loss of sensation.
Fourth degree burns: These are the most serious burns, causing deep lesions and potential complications. It affects the deepest layers of the skin and can cause permanent damage to nerves and muscles. Fourth degree burns may require surgical procedures to repair the damage done.
It is important to note that any burn deeper than a first-degree burn should be seen by a medical professional for appropriate treatment. In addition, larger second, third or fourth degree burns may require hospitalization or even surgery.
First aid for burns
The goal of first aid for burns is to reduce pain and prevent further tissue damage. Depending on the severity of the burn, first aid procedures may include:
- Seek immediate medical attention for severe burns.
- Cool the burned area with cold water or compresses for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not use ice, as this can aggravate tissue damage.
- Remove any clothing or jewelry around the burned area.
- Cover the affected area with a clean, dry dressing, such as a clean cloth or bandage.
- Elevate the burned area above the level of the heart if possible.
- Avoid exposing the burned area to direct heat, sun, or wind.
By following these first aid procedures for burns, you can help reduce pain and minimize further tissue damage. However, if the burn is more than a superficial first-degree burn, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
*It is important to note that this burn treatment procedure does not replace professional first aid training. The information provided may be subject to change based on current recommendations. If in doubt or in need of assistance, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately.
On-line first aid training, a valuable asset
Looking for comprehensive first aid training to help you respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations? St. Bernard Academy offers an online first aid course that covers everything from basic life-saving techniques, such as the CPR maneuver and how to assess the severity of burns, to more advanced approaches like wound care and bandaging.
Sign up today for St. Bernard Academy's online trainings and start developing your first aid skills.
In conclusion, burns can range from superficial first-degree burns to more severe fourth-degree burns that require immediate medical attention. To treat a burn and reduce pain and tissue damage, it is important to follow proper first aid procedures. If the burn is more severe than a superficial first-degree burn, seek medical attention as soon as possible. By enrolling in St. Bernard Academy's online training, you can learn how to properly assess the severity of a burn and take the necessary steps for effective treatment. With this knowledge and training, you will be better prepared to respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations involving burns.
Additional references on the subject
- Jennifer Crain, M.A.,Steven McFaull, M. Sc., Deepa P. Rao, Ph. D., Minh T. Do, Ph. D. et Wendy Thompson, M. Sc.: 1 janvier 2017 "Surveillance des brûlures et des échaudures dans les services d'urgence, d'après la base de données électronique du Système canadien hospitalier d'information et de recherche en prévention des traumatismes" https://www.canada.ca/fr/sante-publique/services/rapports-publications/promotion-sante-prevention-maladies-chroniques-canada-recherche-politiques-pratiques/vol-37-no-1-2017/surveillance-brulures-thermiques-echaudures-services-urgence-2013.html [last accessed January 13, 2023].
- Suzie Bond, PhD et Isabelle Perreault, MD FRCSC: 2017 "Les brûlures : comprendre pour mieux accompagner" https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/2750390 [last accessed January 13, 2023].