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
- 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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