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Most minor burns occur at home and can be dealt with quickly. However if you are in doubt of the severity of the burn, contact your doctor. If burns are severe, dial 999 for an ambulance immediately.

When assessing a burn, remember the following. First-degree burns show a slight redness on the skin. Second-degree burns usually blister and have a red appearance around the burn. Third degree burns show open blisters and are grey or charred around the burned area. A third degree burn can be less painful than a first or second degree burn because most nerve endings have been burned off. Remove any items from around the burn which are not sticking to it, such as clothing, watches or jewellery.

Cool the burn by running cold water over it for about 10 minutes or fully immerse in water until the burning pain is relieved. If water is not available, use other cold liquids such as milk. To avoid further damage or infection:

Do not

Remove anything that is sticking to the burn.
Touch the burn.
Apply creams, fats or ointments to the burn.
Use any sticky plasters or tight strapping.

The next step is to protect the burn from infection and germs by completely but loosely covering it with a dry clean, light, non-fluffy piece of cloth, a burns sheet (if available) or a piece of clean kitchen cling film.

In the case of large or serious burns, the person could be in shock and should be laid down. Their legs should be raised and supported. The persons breathing and pulse rate should be checked every 5 minutes until the ambulance arrives.