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Burns – First Aid at home can really make a difference to their severity

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Do you know how to look after someone with a burn? A few weeks ago I attended a First Aid forum with fellow First Aid instructors to discuss first aid protocols, keep up on the latest and greatest in the first aid world as well as hear from (fantastic!) keynote speakers.

At the forum I listened to an incredible talk from Krissy Stiles, a specialist burns nurse, all about the importance of First Aid in the prevention of scaring and complications when someone is burned. There were some amazing images and case studies included – which at one point moved me to tears with how amazing the recovery was for one child who had first aid treatment properly administered to them.

For this month’s blog I wanted to share my key takeaways for you as a basic first aider:

  • First Aid for burns is 20mins of cool / tepid running water over the burnt area. (20mins is x4 more effective than just 10mins so stick with it even if they are upset)
  • The temperature you are looking for will feel tolerable for the person (between 15 – 37 degrees is best)
  • Ice, bags of peas, anything from the freezer is detrimental – it stops a burn healing
  • Make sure to remove any clothing around the burnt area – the area will keep burning if you leave them on
  • Don’t use any burn gels, butter, toothpaste, etc on a burn it prevents recovery. (Burn gels can be used after the 20mins water if you want but they don’t do much)
  • You have three hours to get this 20mins of cool water over the burn, after this the burn is at the severity it will be.
  • Your best option is not to go straight to hospital but to do this 20mins at home (studies have shown they don’t do it regularly at hospital or in an ambulance so home first aid is SO important)
  • If the burn is severe and you need help after this 20minutes, obviously do go to hospital as they will get you to a specialised burn unit for further help.

If you simply do 20 minutes of cool running water over the burn you can dramatically increase the likelihood of the burned area healing well and prevent scaring, even if it is a bad burn.

If you would like to learn more about supporting someone with a burn alongside other vital life saving skills why don’t you come and join one of my regular bookable courses or book a private course for your team. You can email me at  

 If you would like more hints and tips on all things basic first aid, head over to my Instagram page: or

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