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Updated: 1/14/2003 11:29 am
A burn may be caused either by heat or by a chemical. Burns are classified as first-degree, the mildest; second-degree, which causes blistering and swelling; or third-degree, which causes serious injury. With first- and second-degree burns, don't break blisters or put pressure on burned areas. Don't use antiseptic sprays, ointments, or home remedies, such as butter. Instead, immediately immerse the burned area in cold-- not ice-- water, place it under a tap until the pain subsides, or apply cold, clean compresses that have been wrung out in cold water. If it's a minor burn in the mouth, have the child suck on a small chip of ice. Remove clothing from the burned area, if it comes off easily. Seek medical aid, especially if any signs of infection develop. For third-degree burns, seek medical aid immediately. Call 9-1-1 or the operator. Don't apply water, sprays, or ointments, or immerse in cold water. Remove clothing, unless it sticks to the skin. Cover the affected area lightly with a dry, sterile, nonadhesive dressing or a clean, dry cloth. Check the child's airways, breathing, and circulation. For a chemical burn, first try to identify what caused the burn and call your local Poison Control Center or 9-1-1. Remove all contaminated clothing and immediately flush the affected area with cool water for at least five minutes until all traces of the chemical have been washed away, being careful not to come in contact with the chemical yourself. Don't apply ointments or other home remedies unless a doctor advises you to do so. Apply cool, wet compresses to help relieve pain and cover loosely with a dry, sterile dressing.

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