How to Treat a Fireworks Burn

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Learn how to help when Fourth of July fun suddenly turns into disaster with a fireworks burn. These burns usually occur on the head, face and hands, but can also involve the soles of bare feet. Typically, the burns fall into the first or second-degree categories. Treat minor burns successfully with first aid at home, but second-degree burns need medical attention.

Things You'll Need

  • Cold running water
  • Clean dry cloth
  • Topical spray or cream
  • Oral analgesic
  • Blanket
  • Clean cloths
  • Antiseptic cream or hydro gel

First Degree or Minor Fireworks Burns

  • Hold burned area under cold running water to reduce the heat level. This also helps clean the wound.

  • Dry the burned area with clean dry cloth.

  • Apply a topical anesthetic burn spray or use aloe vera lotion or cream to moisturize the burned area.

  • Administer an analgesic like acetaminophen or aspirin as needed.

Second Degree or More Serious Fireworks Burns

  • Extinguish any fire on clothing or in the hair by smothering with a blanket or having the victim roll on the ground.

  • Immerse affected areas of skin in clean, cold water while arranging medical attention.

  • Dry the wounds gently with clean cloth and apply an antiseptic cream or an inert hydro gel product.

  • Wrap wounds in clean soft cloth such as towels, sheets or gauze.

  • Keep affected areas elevated and move the victim to a hospital or other medical treatment facility.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refer a burn larger than the palm of an adult hand to a doctor.
  • Watch for shock symptoms in serious burn victims.
  • Don't use ice to cool fireworks burns. Doing so causes further tissue damage.
  • Don't apply ointments, butter or steroidal salves to burns because they seal in the heat.
  • Ask about known allergies before administering any medication.
  • Don't place the fireworks burn victim in a tub or pool of cold water. Use cold compresses instead. Immersing the whole body causes core body temperatures to drop dangerously.
  • Take care not to rupture blisters caused by burns unless they are infected.
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