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How to Treat Burns with First Aid


Burns are a common injury that can happen to anyone. While the causes and severity of burns can vary dramatically, an intervention by a trained first aider can make a huge difference to the patient’s comfort and chance of recovery while they wait for medical professionals to arrive. Here we are looking at the essential steps of treating a burn.

Understanding Burns

Burns are common injuries that can range from mild to severe, caused by exposure to heat, chemicals, electricity, or radiation. Understanding the type and severity of the burn is crucial for appropriate treatment.

Importance of Immediate Action

Quick response is key when it comes to treating burns. Acting promptly can prevent further damage and promote faster healing.

Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a simple guide to effectively treat burns and provide immediate relief:

Ensure the Patient’s Safety by Removing the Risk of Further Harm

Before you begin to treat the burn, it is important to ensure the patient is in no risk of further harm by moving them away from the source of the burn (such as a fire or chemical leak). Only move the patient if it is safe to do so.

Call 999

If the burn is severe, it is important to call the emergency services as soon as the patient is safe from further harm. Then, you can continue to treat the burn until help arrives. Seek medical attention if the burn is severe, covers a large area of the body, or if there are signs of infection such as increased pain, redness, or swelling.

Cooling the Burn

Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes. Running water helps to lower the temperature of the burned area, reducing pain and swelling. Avoid using ice or creams as they can worsen the injury.

Avoiding Harmful Practices

Never use ice, iced water, or creams like butter. Using ice or butter can further damage the skin and trap heat, exacerbating the burn. Stick to cool water for effective relief. 

It is also important not to remove clothing stuck to the burn. Instead, cut around the clothing and leave it in place to avoid causing further damage.

Maintaining Warmth

Keep the person warm. While cooling the burn is essential, it’s also important to keep the rest of the body warm to prevent hypothermia. Use blankets or clothing, but avoid covering the burned area directly.

Using Cling Film

Cover the burn with cling film. Applying a sterile, non-adhesive dressing like cling film can protect the burn from infection and keep it clean. Ensure the cling film is applied loosely to avoid restricting blood flow.

Elevating the Injured Area

Raise the injured area. Elevating the burned limb can help reduce swelling and pain. However, ensure it’s done gently to avoid causing further discomfort.

The Role of First Aid Training

First aid training, such as a First Aid at Work course can empower you to handle burns confidently. Attending first aid training equips you with the knowledge and skills to provide immediate care in emergency situations, including treating burns effectively.


Knowing how to treat burns promptly and effectively can make a significant difference in the outcome of the injury. By following the steps outlined above and seeking appropriate medical attention when necessary, you can provide valuable assistance to those in need.

To learn more about the right first aid course for you, please get in touch.