used because lint may contaminate and further irritate
the injured tissue. When hands and feet are burned,
dressings must be applied between the fingers and toes
to prevent skin surfaces from sticking to each other.
Do not attempt to break blisters, and do not
remove shreds of tissue or adhered particles of charred
clothing. Never apply greasy substances (butter, lard, or
petroleum jelly), antiseptic preparations, or ointments.
If the victim is conscious and not vomiting, prepare
a weak solution of salt (1 teaspoon) and baking soda
(l/2 teaspoon) in a quart of warm water. Allow the
victim to sip the drink slowly. Aspirin is also effective
for the relief of pain.
Treat for shock. Maintain the victim's body heat,
but do not allow the victim to become overheated. If
the victim's hands, feet, or legs are burned, elevate
them higher than the heart.
ELECTRICAL BURNS.--In electrical shock
cases, burns may have to be ignored temporarily while
the patient is being revived. After the patient is revived,
lightly cover the burn with a dry, preferably sterile,
dressing, treat for shock, and transport the victim to a
Figure 1-5.--Rule of Nines.
CHEMICAL BURNS.--To treat most chemical
burns, you should begin flushing the area immediately
with large amounts of water. Do not apply the water
THERMAL BURNS.--When emergency treat-
too forcefully. If necessary, remove the victim's
ment of the more serious thermal burns is required, first
clothing, including shoes and socks, while flushing.
check the victim for respiratory distress. Burns around
the face or exposure to hot gases or smoke may cause
Water should not be used for alkali burns caused by
dry lime unless large amounts of water are available for
the airway to swell shut. If facial burns are present,
place the victim in a sitting position to further ease
rapid and complete flushing. When water and lime are
breathing. Transport the victim with facial burns to a
mixed they create a very corrosive substance. Dry lime
should be brushed from the skin and clothing.
medical facility as soon as possible.
Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol should be used to treat
Remove all jewelry and similar articles, even from
unburned areas, since severe swelling may develop
acid burns caused by phenol (carbolic acid). Phenol is
not water soluble; therefore, water should only be used
after first washing with alcohol or if alcohol is not
To relieve pain initially, apply cold compresses to
the affected area or submerge it in cold water. Cold
water not only minimizes pain, but also reduces the
For chemical burns of the eye, flush immediately
burning effects in the deep layers of the skin. Gently
with large amounts of fresh, clean water. Acid bums
pat dry the area with a lint-free cloth or gauze.
should be flushed at least 15 minutes, and alkali burns
for as long as 20 minutes. If the victim cannot open the
Cover the burned area with a sterile dressing, clean
eyes, hold the eyelids apart so water can flow across the
sheet, or unused plastic bag. Coverings such as blankets
eyes. After thorough irrigation, loosely cover both eyes
or other materials with a rough texture should not be
with a clean dressing.