Despite all of our technology and safety standards, there are still many things that could lead to a burn injury. In fact, over 480,000 people experience such an injury every year in the United States alone. And according to the World Health Organization, burns account for about 180,000 deaths per year.
Depending on the severity of a burn, the moments immediately following the injury are critical, especially since serious burns can have life-threatening consequences. If you or someone you love sustains a burn, here are the 3 steps you need to take next.
1. Assess the Burn
First and foremost, get away from the source of the burn as quickly as possible. When you’re in a safe location, assess the burn as best you can. If your injuries are too severe, protect the area as best as you can and wait for help to arrive.
If you can, examine the burn to see how it affects your skin. A first-degree burn will cause swelling and redness. The same goes for second-degree burns, but you’ll also notice blisters. Third-degree burns are the most serious and usually involve charred flesh. Chemical burns may have other effects on your skin and should be treated with extreme caution.
2. Take Action
The actions that you take next will depend on the severity of the burn.
With first-degree burns, run cold water over the burn for at least ten minutes. Do not use ice or any creamy substances, such as butter. These may chill the burn, but they can cause issues of their own. You can often take care of these minor types of burns on your own. Apply a clean dressing and avoid popping any blisters that may form. Redress the wound regularly to keep it clean, which will reduce the risk of infection.
Second and third-degree burns present bigger problems. A second-degree burn with a diameter of 3 inches or more is a “major” burn. Third-degree burns also fall under the “major” category. Getting medical assistance is your first priority with these types of burns. Call 911 and follow the instructions you receive to the best of your ability. Also, don’t try to remove any clothing that is stuck to your skin. Doing so can open up further wounds and increase the likelihood of an infection developing.
If your face or eyes are burned, move to an open area and sit up. This helps to reduce swelling and can make it easier to breathe.
3. Start Looking Towards the Future
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you will need some time to heal. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations to prevent infection. If your burns were caused by a fire, spend as much time in the fresh air as possible to help your lungs heal from potential smoke damage.
Also, as you begin the healing process, begin to evaluate your future. Will the injury you sustained affect your future? And if so, how? Was your injury the result of someone else’s mistake or oversight? If so, you may be eligible to file a claim for your medical treatment, as well as loss of income.
Contact the Fetterman & Associates Law Team today at (561) 449-2372 to arrange a free consultation to discuss the specifics regarding what happened, as well as explore potential legal options that may be available to you.