Treatment for Minor Burns in Children

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 01, 2011

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Burn body of child

Burns in children is a most preventable injury. Despite this fact, it is reported that there are over I million burn cases in the United States and half of these are children under the age of four. Scalding burns are the most common, for instance, when a child knocks over a cup of hot coffee and the liquid falls on the hands. It also happens when the child pulls the handle of boiling water on a stove, grabs the hot curling iron and other household electrical appliances used for heating purposes. Sun exposure is another cause, the UV rays from the sun can also cause burns on a child’s tender skin.


Burns are medically categorised on severity, as first degree, second degree and so on and treatment is done depending grading. The first thing to be done is to remove the child from the danger area and if it is minor burn. The affected area should be put under a source of cold water or by putting a cold towel on it for fifteen minutes. Are should be taken not to put items like ice, butter or ointments till a doctor is on the scene. Blisters should not be broken. At best the burnt clothing should be cut away and replaced with a sterile dressing.


In many cases burns need to undergo a medical procedure which involves removing devitalised tissue, called ‘debridement’. Large blisters are sometimes debrided by some doctors. Others leave them intact and wait their rupturing.


After debriding,an anti-microbial ointment, usually Silvadene (silver diazamine) is applied to the burnt area and covered by sterile gauze.Children allergic to sulpha drugs should use other ointments after consulting a doctor.


Additional treatment will depend on the severity of the burn and involve multiple visits to the doctor. Treatment could also be done at home. The child should be given a tetanus shot. Changing the dressing involves giving the child a pain medication either acetaminophen or ibrufen. The burn should be washed should be washed and patted dry. The antimicrobial ointment is applied on the burn, followed by a non-stick gauze. This should be repeated twice a day. In case the burn does not heal within two weeks, the child may need surgery and skin grafting.


In conclusion, burns in children are a highly preventable injury. It is reported that scalding is the most common cause and mostly happens in children under four. It occurs mostly on account of the child grabbing something hot, like a cup of coffee, a hot electrical appliance. Even sun exposure can cause skin burns on children. An ointment by the name of Silvadene (silver diazamine)has been found to be most effective.


Burns are classified according to severity, the most minor being a first degree burn, where there is no blistering and increasing in severity to second, third and fourth degree burns. Treatment of minor burns in children depends on the severity, some requiring multiple visits to a hospital. Minor burns in children can be taken care at home, by changing the microbial dressing twice a day. In case the burn does not disappear within two weeks, the child might have to be removed to the hospital for skin grafting.


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