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Back to Basics – Burn Awareness

Back to Basics – Burn Awareness


With the arrival of cooler weather in May, the number of burn incidents will be on the increase – which may be expected by those in medical fields, but unknown to the general public. Burn Awareness remains a prominent part of First Aid education and aims to provide ongoing awareness and insights to citizens across South African communities.  There are thousands of burn injuries every year – the majority of which, happen to children. With these statistics on the rise, it has become a significant priority to provide ongoing awareness on the prevention and treatment in a burn crisis situation.

Back to Basics – Burn Awareness

Prevention. Prevention. Prevention. Yes – that is the cure. The fundamental part of awareness is putting in precautionary and preventative measures to ensure a safe and accident-free environment; particularly in safeguarding the lives of children. Common culprits in child-burn cases are open flames (i.e. candles and fires) and hot fluids like boiling water, cooking oil and other flammables like paraffin. It is imperative to safeguard these red zone areas in any household. “Children’s skin is thinner than adults’ and their skin burns at lower temperatures, making them more susceptible to harsher burns with long term effect”.

Most adults believe themselves to be well-informed of burn-injury awareness, however, when questioned about precautions and treatment – the “umms…and aahs” and hesitation becomes evident. So in creating awareness it is important to consider the basics. When in doubt – “keep it simple stupid”- as the saying goes. Cold running water for 20 minutes is your primary go-to-method in a crisis. Do not use ice or ice-water as this is counterproductive and may cause frostbite to damaged skin. Forget about creams and potions as this stands to increase the severity of the burn and ultimately long-lasting tissue damage. Regardless of the severity of the burn injury, it is recommended to be seen by a medical professional.

Burn Awareness stands to unite and share information across South African communities for parents, educators and caregivers in the hope to protect those we love and to instil the “each one teach one” principle on First Aid basics.

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