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Dealing with burns

27 Nov, 2023

By St. John Ambulance NSW

With the cooler weather creeping in it’s time to crack out the cosy beds, comfort food and cuddly winter clothes. However, one thing to keep in mind while preparing for the winter months is the burn hazards that come with winter. These can include a variety of heat sources and winter products designed to warm you up during these chilly winter months — everything from a roaring fire to a bowl of two-minute noodles or a mug of piping-hot chocolate. The exposure to these heating appliance, hot foods and drinks not only lead to greater risk for burns and injuries for yourself but also your family. These simple tips should help to keep you safe at home this winter:

Keep an eye on the kitchen Select smart sleepwear Place a guard around heaters and fireplaces Do not fill hot water bottles with boiling water Placing hot drinks safely away from table or bench edges Test your electric blanket each year Replace hot water bottles at least every two years

Treatment of burns

Did you know 88% of minor burns occur at home, but 90% of burns sufferers don’t know how to correctly treat them?

The aim of first aid for burns is to stop the burning process, cool the burn and cover the burn.

  1. Stop the burning getting any worse, by moving the casualty away from the source of heat.

  2. Remove any clothing and jewellery from the affected area to allow effective cooling of the burn.

  3. Start cooling the burn as quickly as possible. Run it under cool running water for 20 minutes.

  4. Prevent infection by covering the burn wound with a loose and light non-stick dressing, clean, dry, lint free (non-fluffy) material.

  5. Assess how bad the burn is.

Seek medical advice if the burn is:

  • Larger than a 20 cent piece
  • On the face, hands, feet, or groin area

When treating a burn do not:

  • Do Not apply lotions, ointments or oily dressings
  • Do Not prick or break blisters
  • Do Not give casualty alcohol
  • Do Not over cool casualty
  • Do Not use towels, cotton wool, blankets or adhesive dressings directly on burn
  • Do Not remove clothing stuck to burnt area
  • Do Not apply ice The proper management of burns can significantly minimise pain, reduce scarring and prevent infection.

For more information on how you can learn the skills to treat burns, scalds and more visit

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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