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Backpacker Magazine – September 2012

Troubleshoot This: Burned by Boiling Water

by: Kristy Holland

Boiling Water (Bydlon)
Boiling Water (Bydlon)

>> Cool it Spilled cooking water causes most camping burns. “Remove soaked clothing and make sure no one else can get splashed,” advises Anna Gast, a Wilderness Medicine Institute instructor. “Then use snow or water to chill it until it feels cool to the victim. If you act fast, you can prevent deeper tissue damage.”
>> Assess Blistering burns are painful, susceptible to infection, and can be life-threatening. Evacuate to a hospital if you have a blistered or charred burn on your face, neck, hands, feet, underarm, groin, around an appendage, or covering more than 10 percent of your body’s surface area (an entire arm, half a leg).
>> Dress the wound Remove anything that could restrict circulation if the area swells. Leave blisters intact, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover the burn with gauze. “Open blisters will weep fluid; get out of the backcountry if you can’t keep the burn clean,” says Gast.


Stabilize Your Stove
>> Cook on flat ground; avoid setting a stove on a platform.
>> Brace oversized pots with a rock wall around the burner.
>> Keep hot pots low; lift no higher than your shins.

Line of Fire For more camp kitchen safety tips click here.

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Revised Tip:

1)Assess Burned Area
2)Cool with water until the burned area has stopped burning completely. (Burns are painful because the skin is still burning underneath the surface)
3)Again! Make sure the burn is no longer "hot"
4)You may dress the wound but ensure the dressing is dry for burns providing blistering or worse.
You may use wet dressings for first degree burns. (Dry dressings will not hurt as much to remove when changing).
5)Periodically allow the wound to air out to ensure the burn doesnt remain moist.

Lastly when in doubt get medical attention

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1st of all I am so relieved that BP actually consulted an alleged Expert but doesn't state the persons real qualifications or State issued license. A number of these survival schools has "Experts" but no State Licensed Experts. I have one item to add to the recomended treatment since the Information appears to be only aimed a "large" casastophic events and lifted out from a manual of some type, not the more common small events we all experience now an then working around a Stove or a campfire.. Yes cool the wound, I question whether opening blisters is a good idea especially if your enviroment is not to clean or the wound is in an area that will get dirty easily, if so, wiat until you get home or if going to the Emergency Room, let the Doctor do it. I carry a number of small "Burn Gel" packets that are out there in the Market Place. Some have an over the counter pain reliever and antibiotic formulations built into them which from personal experience work very well. I generally carry four of the little 1 ounce packets in my First Aid kit. I get mine from REI or minimuzbiz.com. Also, the next time you go see your Doctor bring a list of questions with you about wound treatment and ask his advice. One word of advice..Do NOT use any of those Alcohol Based Hand Sanitzers on a open or exposed burn...You'll be real sorry you did, plus they tend to irratate the wound itself.
Yes I am a State Licensed health care provider..

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