From minor irritations to life threatening emergencies, burns are a common problem in the workplace.
Burns fall into three general categories: chemical, thermal (caused by heat), and electrical. The rating system used for burns is based on the depth of the injury and the percentage of the body which is burned (measured by the “Rule of Nines”).
First degree burns are superficial, and involve pain and redness of the skin. A simple sunburn is an example of a first degree burn.
Second degree burns (“partial thickness”) are burns where blisters form, either immediately or later. These are very painful.
Third degree (“full thickness”) burns may be red, white, or black. These burns involve the full layer of skin and are not painful because the nerve endings are also destroyed. Third degree burns–especially chemical burns–can extend into the muscle and even to the bone.
|apply ice directly to burns.||cool the damaged skin and clean the area for a simple thermal burn.|
|break blisters.||apply topical antibiotic ointments to small burns.|
|put butter or salt containing substances on burns.|
Refer to a physician all burns which involve:
For chemical burns, find out what chemical caused the burn. Most chemical burns are treated by flushing the area with cool water or saline for up to 30 minutes, though some need to be treated with specific antidotes. Check with a physician or go to the emergency department.
Electrical burns are caused by electric current passing through the body. These burns can involve much more tissue than is evident simply by looking at the skin. In fact, the only visible areas of burn may be the entrance and exit points of the current from the body. ALL electrical burns should be referred to an emergency department or physician because of the danger of internal injury, especially to the heart.
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