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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Burns, Aloe & the Emergency Room….Ouch

Last night I was in a rush to get home from work, cook, eat and run to the gym so I can make it to my Zumba class.
I started frying chicken livers and was about to flip one over and the hot oil splashed my chest, arm, legs and my face. It got me pretty good on my face, burning my cheeks, my eye lids and my forehead. My face looked like I was beat up. It was covered in bright red patches.
I will share with you, some of the things I know about what to do when burns happen and what to do afterward.

Burn Treatment:

1. Immediately upon burning yourself, hold the affected area under running cool water. Ideally, you should do that for 15-20 minutes; if that isn't possible wrap a cool, damp cloth over it and change periodically. The goal is to reduce the temperature of the tissue. If you're fast and the burn isn't bad, you may be able to reduce the severity and avoid blistering.

·                 Do not put any butter, grease, or powder on the burn!!!!
2. Assess the burn. There are several degrees of burn.
    • First degree burns. This is simply redness, with no blistering. This type of burn never leaves a scar if properly treated.
    • Second degree burns. This is redness with blistering of the skin and is usually the most painful type of burn. With proper treatment, this type of burn almost never leaves a scar. NEVER pop the blisters.
    • Third degree burns. This occurs when many layers of skin are actually burned away. Normally there is no blister, because the top layers of skin are gone. This burn usually leaves a scar, even with proper treatment.
3. Not all burns require immediate medical evaluation, and some do not need to be seen by a doctor at all. Here is a guide to help you decide the next appropriate step.
·                 Large burns. Any burn over a large part of the body, regardless of the degree, should receive medical attention promptly in an ER. Examples include burns of the entire back or chest and abdomen, or burns involving most or all of an extremity.
·                 Facial burns (like mine) These almost always warrant a call to your doctor right away, unless it involves a very small area, such as the size of a quarter or smaller.
·                 First-degree burns. Again, this is just redness, no blisters will form, and no skin is burned away. This does not require urgent care and usually doesn't require a doctor's visit. Depending upon your observations you may call your doctor during office hours and speak with a nurse just to be sure no follow-up is needed. Some first-degree burns will begin to blister as long as 24 hours later, this means it has changed into a second-degree burn.
·                 Second-degree burns. The key here is that blisters will form. If there is no blister, and the skin is not burned away, then it is first-degree. A second-degree burn does warrant an urgent page to your doctor after hours, or a visit to the office right away.
·                 Third-degree burns. If it appears that many layers of skin have been burned away to the extent that there is not enough skin left to form a blister, then take your child into an emergency room immediately. Even during the day while your doctor's office is open, it still may be better to go to an ER if you are certain it is a third-degree burn.
If ever you are not certain what type of burn it is, then call your doctor.
4. HOW DO I TREAT THE BURN?
·                 First degree burns. For this type of burn, you do not need a prescription cream. You also do not need to use an antibiotic cream. One of the best treatments for first degree burns is aloe Vera. Buy a bottle of 100% aloe gel and apply several times a day. Be sure to buy 100% aloe. Some bottles will say, "made with pure aloe", but only contain 10% aloe. Read the ingredients. Basically, it should only read aloe on the label. You can also use the juice from the leaf of an aloe plant, if you have one.
·                 Second degree burns. Treating this type of burn is more complex. You should check with your doctor about how to treat your child's second-degree burns. Here are some general guidelines that we recommend. Twice a day do the following:
·                         Rinse the area with comfortable temperature water. Use a sink or bathtub faucet. The stream of water will remove germs, dead skin, and debris.
·                         Air dry.
·                         Apply prescription burn cream called Silvadene (the generic equivalent is silver sulfadiazine). This is an antibiotic cream that has excellent healing properties, and is an important part of the burn treatment because it's very effective at preventing infection. You need to apply it aseptically; buy a package of sterile tongue depressors to use. Use a lot of cream, as if you were icing a cake. When you change the bandage, if all the cream is worn off or soaked in, then you didn't use enough. Silvadene contains silver, and you will notice a dark "tarnish" discoloration on the bandages.
·                         Cover with a bandage. Your doctor may recommend a specific type of bandage. Typically a non-stick pad is placed over the cream (one brand name is Telfa), than a gauze is taped or wrapped around the area.
·                         Stretch. If the burn is on an area of the body that stretches or pulls a lot (such as the palm of the hand or palm side of the fingers), the burned skin is at risk of healing too tight. This is called a contracture. In this type of area, it is very important to stretch this skin around ten times a day for one minute.
·                         Cut away the blister – after the blister pops on its own. Your doctor may cut the dead blistered skin away. This will help prevent infection and will promote healing. If you have a large blister that pops after several days, then go back to see your doctor. He or she may want to cut it away.
·                         Watch for infection. Call or see your doctor if you detect any foul- smelling greenish discharge from the burn, or see an expanding area of redness around the burn.
·                 Third degree burns. Because of the seriousness and potential for scarring from this type of burn, it is recommended that you go to a burn center or ER for initial treatment, and then continue your follow-up care with a burn surgeon. We cannot put any general recommendations here for this type of burn.
5. HOW LONG DO I USE THE BURN CREAM OR ALOE AND BANDAGES?
If you are just treating a first-degree burn with aloe, you probably only need to use it for a few days. It doesn't hurt to use it longer.
If you are treating a second-degree burn, you should ask your doctor when to stop the treatment. In general, as the burned skin peels off, new red (which usually bleeds a tiny bit) skin will be visible underneath. This red skin will slowly lighten into a pink skin color. You can generally stop using the cream at this time. You can also stop covering it with a bandage at this time.
6. SUN PROTECTION
Burned skin is extremely sensitive to becoming permanently discolored by the sun. Once the burn is healed, you should apply sunscreen or cover the area with clothing or a hat. Continue this extra sun protection for 6 months.

I was applying Aloe Vera all over my burns and this morning my face looks a bit better but my arm got the worst of it and is all swollen and hurting.
I hope you guys are careful when you cook anything especially frying…This accident def taught me a lesson and I am lucky that I got away with just a couple of first degrees burns.

The weather outside its very nasty today and it’s been raining the whole day.  My brain just can’t function when it’s cloudy….I need some sunshine J

Anyways, I am off back to work.
Good luck to all of you in the kitchen

Love, Elena

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