First Aid: Managing 1st and 2nd Degree Burns

Candidates in St Mark James standard first aid courses will learn to recognize and provide care for patients with first and second degree burns. First degree burns affect the outer layer of the skin will second degree burns involve the outer layer, the epidermis, and the inner layer of the skin, the dermis. This page will outline the care rescuer will learn to provide when attending a standard first aid course. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only.

First Degree Burn Management.

These burns are the most common types of burns. They do not require hospitalization unless the burn covers a large proportion of the body (40 to 50%). The main concerns from the patient with these burns is the pain which can be relieved by cold water and cold water compresses. A rescuer should be careful not to apply the cold water to more than 20% of the body surface at a time. Cooling should be stopped when the patient begins to shiver. Rescuer should only use clean water when cooling the burn.

Second Degree Burn Management.

Treatment for second degree burns is almost identical to that of first degree burns. The primary concerns for second degree burns is pain, loss of fluid which can lead to shock and blisters and infection. Immediate cooling of second degree burns can help limit the depth of the burn and reduce pain. Treatment for a first degree burn can also be applied to a second degree burn. Rescuer(s) and patient should not deliberately break the blisters as this can increase the chances of infection. If the blisters do burst allow the fluid to drain and continue with the burn management provided above.

To learn more about first aid second degree burns and how to recognize and provide care for burn patients take a St Mark James standard first aid course near you.