Many of you will have been enjoying the welcome return of the sunny weather and as temperatures climb and the sun stays out longer we all reach for that symbol of warm British weather …The Barbeque!
This time of year the number of cases of superficial burns rises at a steady rate, not just due to people cooking themselves on the BBQ, but just enjoying the sun without using sunscreen and getting the dreaded British red tan.
We all may laugh at this and most of us have probably done one of these at least once, but prevention is better than a cure and you are actually receiving a superficial burn or what used to be called a 1st degree burn.
WHAT IS A SUPERFICIAL BURN?
A superficial burn is where the top layer of skin (the dermis) is damaged by direct heat such as an open flame or a hot metal surface. Constant exposure to a low level radiation like UV rays emitted by the sun causes sunburn, which is also a superficial burn.
WHAT ARE THE SIGN AND SYMPTOMS?
A superficial burn will be red and possibly over a large area.
There may be pain and swelling
There should be no damage to the skin.
If there is any sign of severe blistering or skin damage then you need to seek medical advice, as damaged skin is vulnerable to infection, which can make you seriously ill and lead to further problems with the burn.
Once you get this level of damage you are now moving into partial thickness burns or what used to be known as a 2nd degree burn.
HOW DO I TREAT IT?
Stick to the basics!
Cool the burn down under cool running water for 10 minutes (more if possible) or until the pain is relieved - let the water touch the skin a little further up from the burn so it can pour over it and not directly on it.
If you don't have any water near by then use a cold compress if possible.
Examine the skin for any sign of damage and blistering.
For difficult areas you may need to get creative – sit on the edge of the bath with the shower head for a leg burn for example.
Only apply proper burn dressings and gels. They are anti-septic in nature and easily absorbed by the skin as well as the fact that they were designed for the job.
Do not place oily creams like savlon or butter on a burn as these are oil based and can cause complications. If the burn requires treatment at a burns unit, these creams will need to be wiped off! Ouch!
HOW DO I AVOID IT?
Common sense is the best advice. Always use sunscreen! And make sure that its SPF factor matches the temperature and skin type; See the chart at the end of the blog for reference.
Cover up where possible at the hottest part of the day. When using a BBQ wear an appropriate apron and have the correct equipment and oven gloves at hand.
Keep young children and pets away from the cooking area.
Another top tip is NEVER mix alcohol and BBQ cooking! Alcohol can affect your judgement and reaction times, something you do not want around hot flames and oil! Save the alcohol until after you have finished cooking.
My final top tip would be to purchase a BBQ or kitchen/burns First Aid kit, these include all the equipment required for dealing with minor burns and cuts and scrapes, they are relatively cheap to purchase and are available from all good online retailers.
That’s all from me for now, have a safe summer season around the BBQ and throw another burger or two on for us here at Fleximed.