Toronto Burn Scald Injury Lawyer
Our Toronto personal injury lawyers can help you assert your legal rights to get compensation for injuries relating to burns and scalds that occurred in Ontario. If you, or someone you know, have suffered a burn or scald injury caused by the negligence of someone else and you would like to know if it is possible to claim compensation, just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our offices and a Toronto personal injury lawyer will telephone you with free advice.
Burn & Scald Injury - Physicians Overview
A burn can be a chemical or a thermal burn, caused by a heat source or by a caustic chemical. Some burns can be classified as scalds because they occur from exposure to hot liquids or steam. Scalds, while very painful tend not to be as serious as burns although there have been many fatalities due to exposure to pressurised steam.
Types of Burns
First degree burn: This is a burn that reddens the skin but does not create blisters. It is relatively painful. Most sunburns are of this category. A first degree burn is the mildest type of burn you can get.
Second degree burn: This is a burn that is severe enough to create blisters but is not deep enough to go through all layers of skin. It is a very painful type of burn to have.
Third degree burn: This is the most severe type of burn that extends through all layers of skin. Surprisingly, because nerve endings can be destroyed, this can be a less painful burn than less serious types of burns. Nevertheless, it is the most serious type of burn.
Chemical burns can be caused by acids or bases. Of the two, base burns are more dangerous because they keep on burning through the tissue until they are stopped with copious amounts of water.
The first way to stop a burn is to prevent it altogether. You need to stop the burning process and get rid of any source of the heat and you need to stay away from dangerous heat sources. If you are on fire, you need to put out any flames with the application of water or you need to smother the fire with a heavy blanket or sweatshirt. Stop, drop and roll to remove sources of flame.
If you have a chemical burn, remove the chemical by adding copious amounts of water to the wounded area until the burning has diminished. Do not use baking soda or vinegar to try and neutralize the chemical burn. This will only add heat to an otherwise burned area.
If there is clothing that is covering the burn, remove it, but don’t remove clothing that has stuck to burned skin. This can harm skin. The idea is to keep skin as cool as possible by keeping it open to the air so that it can keep the skin cool while the burning process is going on. If you are burned with tar, cool the skin with water but don’t try to peel off the tar. Leave this to the professionals.
If you are exposed to an electrical burn, shut off all sources of power before attempting to apply aid to the affected individual. Do not get near someone who has been exposed to a high-voltage energy source until the energy source has been eliminated.
In a chemical burn, remove affected clothing and brush off any dry chemical. Water, as mentioned, is crucial to getting rid of the source of the burning. Aim to apply water for 20-30 minutes. Running water is best as it keeps cool water flowing over the burned area. Ice or very cold water can damage the skin so avoid these things.
Ideally, you should cover the burn with sterilized cling film that does not stick to skin. This can be rolled out and can put pressure on the skin so that blisters are less likely to form and get big. Let the cling film be applied to the skin up until the time it is seen by a doctor or other health professional. Don’t wrap the cling film around the wounded extremity completely or you will potentially cut off the circulation to the affected area as it swells.
Be sure to give some kind of pain killer early on in the treatment. Tylenol or ibuprofen work well to ease the pain and inflammation of the burn.
Some things to avoid in the secondary stages include not to prick the blisters. This can cause bacteria to get inside the blister and cause a nasty infection. Also do not put butter, greases, oils or ointments to the wound unless it is a mild sunburn. In that case, use a soothing moisturizing cream as a soothing agent. Also don’t put any adhesive, sticky substance or fluffy dressing on the wound until it is seen by a doctor.
When to get Help
If you have a simple first degree burn that does not have any blisters or a second degree burn with only minor blistering, you probably don’t need medical attention and can manage the care of the burn at home. If you have deep tissue damage or large blisters, it is a good idea to get medical attention. Sometimes large areas of sunburn can be treated with oral corticosteroids and you need to see your medical provider for that. Small blistered burns are best left open to the air to keep them cool and so you can watch the burn for evidence of infection.
See a doctor if your burn oozes pus or has increasing areas of redness spreading from the burn. Burns that become more painful rather than less painful are suspicious for being infected. In addition, if you are not current on your tetanus shot, you should ask your doctor whether or not you need one. If the blisters are large, the doctor may want to strip away the blister and apply a burn cream to prevent infection.
When Burns get Severe
Any electrical burn should be considered severe because you don’t know the extent of the burn internally. If a burn is third degree or full thickness, you need to seek medical attention. The burned area needs to be debrided, possibly in the operating room and skin grafts may need to be applied. Any partial thickness wound of the hands, face, genitals or large areas of the extremities are considered severe. They will cause blistering and can scar, especially if they get infected.