The American Red Cross recommends these steps to care for minor burns.
• Stop the burning. Put out the flames or remove the victim from the source of the burn.
• Cool the burn. Use large amounts of water to cool the burned area. DO NOT use ice or ice water other than on small superficial burns. Ice causes body heat loss. Use whatever resources are available: tub, shower or garden hose. You can apply soaked towels, sheets or other wet cloths to a burned face or other areas that cannot be immersed. Be sure to keep cloths cool by adding more water.
• Cover the burn. Use dry, sterile dressings or a clean cloth to cover a burn. Loosely bandage them in place. Covering the burn helps keep air out and reduces pain. Covering the burn also prevents infection. If the burn covers a large area of the body, cover it with clean, dry sheets or other cloth.
For minor burns and burns with open blisters that are not serious enough to need medical care, wash the areas with soap and water. Keep it clean. Put on an antibiotic ointment. Watch for signals of infection.
Critical burns will need immediate medical attention. Call 911 or your emergency number if any one of the following instances occurs:
• Victim is having difficulty breathing.
• More than one part of the body is burned.
• There are burns to the head, neck, hands, feet or genitals.
• A child or an elderly person has been burned.
• Chemicals, electricity or explosions have caused the burns.
On Independence Day, the American Red Cross recommends that fireworks should be left to the professionals. The use of fireworks can be dangerous. Even sparklers, which appear hazard-free, burn at temperatures of 1200 degrees F (982 degrees C). Consequently, one of the leading injuries suffered during Independence Day celebrations is first degree or superficial burns.