First Aid: Burns



Lawton Chiles, via Flickr

Liz Waid and Joshua Leo give simple instructions and advice about common emergencies. How would you help someone with a bad burn?

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Imagine this situation. You are at home with your small child. It is cold outside, so you have a small electric heater. Suddenly you hear a scream! You run to your child. She touched the heater! Now she has serious burns on her face, and on her hands. What should you do?

Voice 2 

Treating a hurt person quickly is called first aid. First aid does not require expert medical help – anyone can learn first aid. Today’s Spotlight is the third program in a series on first aid. One of the most common injuries is burns. But the right, quick treatment for burns can make a big difference.

Voice 1 

Children’s interest in the world around them can put them in dangerous situations - where burns can easily happen. They may touch hot pans of food. They may play with fire. Adults also experience burns too often. Hospital records show the high number of burn victims each year. So what should you do if someone suffers a burn?

Voice 2 

First, look at the burn. Is it a small burn? Doctors say a small burn is about twenty-three millimetres across. Then ask the victim, “Is your burn very painful?”

Voice 1 

Surprisingly, more serious burns are not very painful. If you are dealing with a small painful burn, it is not serious. You can treat it without a doctor. Put the burn under cold running water for ten minutes. This is called ‘flushing’. It cools the burned area. You may have to flush the burn for longer if the victim still feels pain. Do not use ice. Ice is too cold. It can damage the skin.

Voice 2 

After flushing, cover the burn. A clean bandage or cloth is good. You can even use a clean plastic bag. Do not use anything that may stick to the burn. The covering is important. It will keep the burn clean. This will help to stop infection.

Voice 1 

Infection is very serious. It happens when bacteria enter the wound. The signs of infection are increasing pain, redness, fever, and white or yellow pus. However, blisters are a good sign. These areas of skin fill with fluid. They protect the burn. If the blister breaks, it could cause infection. If the burn becomes infected, you will need a doctor immediately.

Voice 2 

But what if the burn is more serious? If the burn does not hurt the victim, then it is probably more serious. This sounds strange. But burns that take away a person’s feeling have damaged the skin and nerves deep down. If the victim’s burn is more than 23 millimetres across, then it is also serious. In both cases, you must take the victim to a doctor. But your early help will give the victim the best chance to make a good recovery. Here is what you need to do with large burns:

Voice 1 

First remove the victim’s clothes around the burned area. Burns often make the injured body part swell or get bigger. Tight, close fitting clothes can cause injuries as the body swells. Also remove any jewellery from fingers, wrists and neck.  Then treat the burned area with cool running water. Cover the burned area lightly with a clean cloth. Then get help fast. If you can get the victim to a doctor more quickly, the victim has a better chance of recovery.

Voice 2 

Burns on the inside of the mouth also require quick treatment. It is important to cool the area. Ask yourself, “Is the victim still awake and conscious? Can he talk and look at me?”

Voice 1 

If the victim is conscious, then help him to drink small amounts of cold water. Drinking water will help to reduce swelling in the victim’s mouth. However, the swelling may make it difficult for the victim to breathe. If this happens, then go to a doctor.

Voice 2 

Jill McLaughlin received First Aid training from the British Red Cross. The Red Cross organization does first aid training in many countries. Jill was also a performer in her town’s Christmas holiday play. This group practiced together to prepare for the performance. At one practice, Jill needed her first aid training. The group was taking a short break. They were drinking hot coffee and talking. Jill saw her neighbors, who were old. Suddenly, the husband fell towards his wife. He bumped her. And she spilled her hot coffee over her chest. Jill told the Red Cross,

Voice 3 

“I turned to see her fall backwards. She gasped. I saw that the hot coffee had gone through her shirt. It was burning her skin.

I asked all the men to leave the room. Then, I lifted the poor woman’s shirt. I pulled the bra away from her chest. Then I called to the women cooking in the kitchen. I asked them for a cloth and cold water. I immediately started to place cold water on her chest area.”

Voice 1 

Jill sent the woman’s husband for clean dry clothes. Then they finished the practice. But Jill watched the woman carefully, for any problems. Jill’s quick action helped her neighbour. Without the treatment, the older woman would have had a serious burn. Instead, it did not blister, or leave a mark. Jill added,

Voice 3

“If I had not had first aid training, the situation would have been serious. The woman probably would have had permanent marks on her skin. And she would have needed a trip to the hospital.”

Voice 2 

There are many different kinds of accidents. Each of them needs different first aid help. The right, quick, action can save a person’s life.

Voice 1 

In another programme we will look at first aid for some other injuries and accidents. If you are interested in first aid, you can learn more. Ask your local doctor or hospital where you can train in first aid. You never know - you could save a life.

Voice 2 

The writers of this program were Marina Santee and Elizabeth Lickiss. The producer was Michio Ozaki. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight.

Voice 1 

You can visit Spotlight on the Internet. Our address is www.radioenglish.net. There, you can listen to this program again, and read it at the same time. This program is called, ‘First Aid: Burns’. The website also has many other Spotlight programs about First Aid, and links to more information about First Aid treatment.

Voice 2 

If you have a comment or question about any Spotlight program you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. Or you can leave a comment on the script page of the program on our website, radioenglish.net.

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever experienced a burn? How did you treat it?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
jack shin
said on June 19, 2013

Thanks for this short but precise lesson for people to know what first aid is!
It takes only for a short time and we can help people who is in danger.
I could’ve learned free first-aid lesson when i studied in university.
now i regret not learning the lesson…

Avatar Spotlight
tranquan
said on June 20, 2013

Spotlight always provides many useful knowledge ! Thank you ! I really love first aid. Can you make a list of first aid after each first aid report ? I think it can help people easy to find out previous reports about first aid ! :D

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on July 07, 2016

Yes, I have experienced a SMALL burns especially when I was child then young. In that times my familly was treated it by many different things according if it exsisting or not, water, tea used, oil ... Etc. Noe, if I burned, I use water enough or maybe tomato because I heard that its good for treating of hurns.
God bless you

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on July 19, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spothtlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Tuesday 19, July 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid,  Marina Santee, Elizabeth Lickiss, Joshua leo, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learnears of English more one great article. Thanks!
Yes, I have. Sometimes, I burn myself at the kitchen when I am preparing my luch, dinner. or a cup of coffee.
I usually, open the tap and put my burn finger under the running water by ten minutes.
After that, I cover it with a clean towel. 
Also, I like to put on the damaged skin some Johnson’s oil to hydrate the damaged area.

Your regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil