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First Aid for Third Degree Burns

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
ANNOUNCER: You may know that third degree burns are the most serious kind. It's also important to know how to recognize one.

SCOTT CARUTHERS, FIRST AID EXPERT: The third-degree burns will be clearly different because there will be holes or chunks missing. Tissue has actually been destroyed and you can see perhaps bones, some ligaments, tendons, anything that is normally covered by the skin.

ANNOUNCER: Don't rely on the amount of pain the person is in to tell you how serious the burn is.

SCOTT CARUTHERS, FIRST AID EXPERT: Within the third-degree burn areas, the nerve endings are severely damaged, if not completely destroyed. So the person may not perceive the same kind of pain here, even though it's much worse, then they may perceive here in a first or second degree burn because the nerve endings remain intact in these areas.

ANNOUNCER: Third degree burns require emergency medical attention so your first step is to call 911. But there are some things you can do while waiting for help.

SCOTT CARUTHERS, FIRST AID EXPERT: With this large opening into the flesh, into the body, bacteria, contaminants right now would be attacking this area. So the very first thing we would want to do is to cover the affected areas with again our sterile dry bandages.

ANNOUNCER: There are also some important don'ts.

SCOTT CARUTHERS, FIRST AID EXPERT: You do not want to run any water or put anything onto the burn. Do not attempt to remove anything from a third-degree burn. Do not irrigate. Do not clean. Do not pick at. Do not...nothing. Cover it. Get the person to the hospital.

ANNOUNCER: Knowing the right way to administer first aid to a serious burn can make a big difference to the patient. Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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