Urban Survival Day 16 – Identify And Treat Burns

Posted: March 9, 2013 in Survival/Self Defense
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Life is full of objects that become extremely hot.  Earlier today in fact I severely burnt the inside of my mouth while eating.  But food isn’t the only threat.  We cook food with heat and heat is dangerous.  We heat our water for showers and washing clothes.  As many of you probably have discovered, hot water is sometimes just as bad as fire itself.  Knowing how to identify burns is probably one of the most useful tips in this book for the average person; it’ll apply in just about everyone’s life somehow.

16)  Identify And Treat Burns

Our skin is “made up of three layers of varying thickness.  The severity of a burn depends on how deep into these layers it penetrates”.  The treatment for each of these different types is also different as a result.  The following list explains how to identify your burn and what you need to do to properly treat it:

  1. First Degree – First degree burns are also known as “superficial burns”.  These burns are usually minor and can be caused by hot liquids, the sun, etc.  These burns will generally heal on their own, “but it’s a good idea to remove any constraining jewelry or clothing and apply a cool compress or aloe vera gel”.
  2. Second Degree – Burns of this intensity can be caused by “flame flashes, hot metals, and boiling liquids”.  These burns are not just superficial; they penetrate to the second layer of our skin.  These too will heal on their own, but not before days of pain as well as a blister.  The book recommends that you flush the affected area “with cool water and trim away any loose skin”.  It also recommends that you not mess with the blisters.  If you “pop” the blister it could lead to an infection.  In addition to flushing with cool water, the author recommends that you cover the area with “a daily slather of aloe vera and a nonadhesive dressing”.  If the burn is larger than 3″ in diameter or located on the “face, hands, feet, groin, or bottom, it’s best” to seek medical help.
  3. Third Degree – “This full-thickness burn is very severe”.  All three layers of the skin are affected.  In the event of a 3rd degree burn,
  4.  treat the victim for shock (this is tomorrow’s tip) and get them to a hospital as quickly as possible.  Burns of this severity require skin grafts.
  5. Fourth Degree – This level burn also affects all three layers of the skin.  4th degree burns however cause damage to “structures below the skin, such as ligaments and tendons”.  These burns destroy nerves, resulting in permanent loss of feeling.  “Amputation and permanent disability are likely, so your best bet is to evacuate the victim to a medical facility immediately”.

I have to say that so far, this has been the tip I like the most.  I actually learned a good bit more than I had before, even thought I was aware of different degrees of burns.  I didn’t know what they meant exactly and I didn’t know how severe they were.  In addition, I learned how to treat various types of burns, as well as which types are un-treatable by me alone.  This is something that will apply on a daily basis so I feel it is relevant to everyone, not just “preppers” or survivalists.

What’s the worst burn you’ve ever had?  I’m sure we’ve all had some bad ones.  Feel free to share your story in the comments below.  Also, subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming tips.  We’re getting into the good ones now so I promise they’ll be more interesting.

The information contained in this post is a combination of my own opinion and information provided in the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  This is not intended to be used for medical instruction.  If you have an injury and are able, please refer to your doctor before attempting anything mentioned above.


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