That Burns My Hide – (Learning to Care for and Treat a Burn in a Survival Situation)

Okay. It's a given. 

Me, and what seems like almost any source of heat go to battle every time we come in contact with one another.

Unfortunately, the heat source usually wins. 

I mean, it doesn't matter - it could be the hair straightener, the oven or the BBQ grill - makes no difference, I'll walk away from the fight with a painful battle scar - a burn.

As most of us know or have personally experienced before (ouch), a burn is simply an injury to the skin caused by some type of heat. And most burns, thank goodness, are generally surface wounds. But there are those that go much deeper.

In fact, some burns can be so severe that they penetrate down into the muscle or even the bone and blood vessels. 

Our skin is very delicate, we know that (why else would we spend all that money to slather on moisturizers and creams?)  But other than just feeling soft and silky, the skin has numerous functions too. It regulates the amount of heat our bodies hold on to or lets out and it holds fluids and keeps our bodies from infection.

Okay, so how do we to treat a burn if we are in a survival situation?

Well, first you need to assess the burn.

Look for blistering, sloughing, or charred/blackened skin these are signs that the burn has gone deeper than just a surface wound.

As a guide, a first degree burn will be reddish, a second degree will have blistering and, a third degree is tearing of the skin (not to be gross - but pizza looking).

Once you determine the burn type you need to stop the burning process. 

A key point is to remove any clothing and jewelry from around the burn because these can retain heat. 

Now for cooling the burned area. If you have access to water, run cool (not cold or warm) water over the burn. NOTE: Never put butter or oil on a burn!

Once cooled, clean the area with water and soap or antiseptic (hopefully you have both in your first-aid kit - if not get them), make sure to gently remove any debris by flushing or wiping the wound. Then pat the burn dry and apply antiseptic ointment with a cotton swab. 

To reduce swelling (and minimize the pain), apply some type of cool compress to the injury on and off for ten minute intervals. Also in your first-aid kit you should have some type of sterile dressing to apply to the burn injury and wrap to cover the area with some type of gauze (again if you don’t – you know the drill girl). 

Give an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling.

If at all possible, re-dress the burn twice a day (keeping in mind removal my necessitate soaking it first), then follow the steps as before.

If by chance you don't have dressing and gauze available (again please add this to your kit), you will need to make a covering out of some type of clean cloth to reduce the chances of dirt and infection (this may be difficult in a PHTF situation). 

Remember the drill from grade school?

For flame burns, stop, drop and roll.

Now for wet chemical burns, flush the area with water for 20 minutes and, for dry chemical burns, brush off the dry chemicals and treat accordingly. 

Understand this information is in no way to give medical advice, it is merely to use as a guide in a dyer situation where there are no doctors available (or around) and no medical assistance available.

Do your homework.

Get the items you need to assure you are prepared. - Just sayin'.

- Survivor Jane

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