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What to do in Case of a Major Burn

Most people have suffered from minor burns at some point in their lives, as these injuries are very common. In most minor incidents, people can recover without the need for special treatments or suffering from health consequences. However, major burns can be life-threatening and require emergency medical care to prevent devastating outcomes.

Is it a major burn?

Burn injuries cause damage to the tissue, leading to the death of skin cells. There a variety of causes leading to burn injuries, including scalding from boiling liquids, overexposure to the sun, flames, chemicals, or electricity.

The degree of a burn is characterized by the severity of the skin damage and not necessarily the cause of it, as some causes can lead to both minor and major burns.

When the burn covers more than 25% of the total body surface, it is considered as a major burn.

Major burns damage also includes:

  • Extensive thickening of the skin

  • Dry and leathery-looking skin

  • The appearance of patches in white, brown or black

  • Deep blisters larger than 3 inches in diameter

How to treat major burns?

Rapid treatment is vital. Without timely medical intervention, major burns can lead to high level of tissue destruction, hypovolemia, and shock, which can have devastating results. With the appropriate resuscitative and surgical operations to treat major burns, patients have an increased probability to survive severe burns. 

If you recognize any of the characteristics of a major burn, visit Premier immediately or call 911.

There are a few things you can do to help the injured person until the emergency help arrives:

  • If possible, make sure that the injured person is not in contact with the source of the burn to avoid further harm.

  • In case of an electrical burn, don’t approach the injured person before making sure that the power source is off.

  • If possible, raise the affected area higher than the heart level.

  • Cover the area of the burn with a clean cloth or a cool bandage. However, it is extremely important that you don’t immerse large affected areas in water, as this can lead to hypothermia.

  • Remove any hard items like jewelry or belts that can be restrictive if the burned areas will swell.

  • If the injured person is not breathing, give the patient rescue breaths.