Burn First Aid

Application of appropriate first aid can make significant difference to the treatment and recovery of burn injuries.

What can you do?

Make sure you are safe

If on fire

  • Stop, Drop to the ground, Cover face & Roll so fire is smothered.
  • Smother flames with a fire blanket
  • Move away from heat source

Remove clothing and jewellery (including nappies)

  • Clothing can hold heat on the burnt area.
  • If swelling occurs jewellery can stop blood flow to the burnt area.

If it’s a chemical burn:

  • take off any contaminated clothing;
  • for dry chemicals, brush off the chemicals before putting the burnt area under water.

Apply cool running water

  • For at least 20 minutes
  • If running water not available, wet 2 cloths and alternate them onto burn every 2 minutes

After first aid cover burn with clean cloth and keep patient warm

Give pain relief if required

If the burn is to your arm or leg:

  • raise it whenever possible to reduce swelling

What should you avoid?

  • Ice
  • Butter
  • Toothpaste
  • Creams
  • Bandage

These do not cool the burn

What else should you be aware of?

  • cool the burn, not the rest of the person
  • don’t put someone with small burns into a bath full of cold water
  • if blisters develop don’t pop them, visit your doctor in case they need to be removed

When to seek help?

If things get worse, or if you are not up to date with tetanus injections, see your doctor.

If you need urgent treatment call triple zero (000) or, if safe to do so, go to the nearest emergency department.


Pamphlet for Burn Injury Prevention & First Aid

Source: Agency of Clinical Innovation Statewide Burn Injury Service

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