22. FIRST AID FOR COMMON INJURIES 106 Burns Rescue the victim and smother his burning clothes. Keep the victim lying down while you are smothering the fire – this will prevent the flames from burning his neck or face. If your own clothes are burning, smother the fire by rolling on the ground or by using a smothering (fire) blanket. Cool the burned area immediately with cold running water. You can also apply a wet cold compress. It is more important to cool the burned area than to remove any clothing from the area. Any delay may cause a surface burn to turn into a deep one. Cool the area for 20-30 minutes. Do not puncture blisters. They prevent the risk of infection. Cover the injured area with a sterile pad or a special burn bandage. Keep a burn victim from getting cold. If the person is badly injured, take him in a lying position to further medical care. If an injured person has been exposed to smoke and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, take him immediately to fresh air. Second-degree burns and burns that cover an area larger than the palm of the victim’s hand must be directed for further treatment. The patient must be sent for further treatment if the areas of burn include e.g. the respiratory tract, mucous membranes or facial area. Same goes for burns caused by electricity, compressed steam or chemicals. Also, third second degree burns must be directed for further medical treatment. If hot combustion gases have reached the respiratory tracts, there is a risk for airways to close and thus the patient’s breathing will fail. The person having breathing difficulties may feel more pleasant in supported half-sitting position.
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