Learning Journey Dealing 1st and 2nd Degree Burn

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9 months ago
Topics: Life, Blog, Experiences, Health, Emergency, ...

What a 2022 it has been!

So much things has happened, but at the same time so much new things learned as well.

All of them were unintentional and could have been avoided; but if things still happened, there must be something important to learn along the way.

And one of them is this one - accidental boiling water burnt!

I must say it is definitely not a pleasant journey, but all I can say was joining the Red Cross and learning first aid during my teenage years definitely paid off! If anyone who is reading have kids growing up, learning first aid from school clubs or community hobby definitely will help (one way or another) in the future.

I remembered when I was bringing my dad for the first X-ray appointment, one of the seniors who was exhausted from a long stretch of walking and fell down getting a really deep cut from the metal corner of hospital benches, and the first thing I remembered was to run to grab a clean paper towel, pressed on the punctured wound asking the senior lady to sit put, then run to get a nurse nearby to help dress up the would immediately was all we needed in order to help the poor senior, not to mention a lot of clean up were avoided (from blood dripping all over the floor)

I digress! Back to what happened to my hand...

So how did it all happened?

No one would have imagined that a freshly brewed coffee (from freshly boiled water) poured out from a thermos mug (that was tightly closed for 5 minutes) would have inflicted such a burn; but here it was, with the pressure built in the mug, it overshot the coffee from my espresso cup onto my hand and it doesn't feel like it was 100°C (212°F) spill, but much worse.

What are the split second things we can do if this happened, particularly if you are in the kitchen or a pantry?

1. Do not panic

Panicking / screaming from the burn could actually delay the treatment if you are alone / surrounded by inexperienced people; so the first emotion I had in my head was not to think about how bad the burnt and the pain was, but what I can do to stop the burning.

2. Running cold water

I must say that the reaction has to be quick enough to think, and thank God for the trainings that I still remembered, the first thing was to look for running tap water.

Unfortunately, at the time of the event, the weather was so hot that the running water was WARM! And any water washed on the burnt other that cold water will increase the sharp pain like a thousand nano knives stabbing on your burnt wound.

Good thing was that I was in a pantry where ice was available, and another good thing was I had a container that was deep enough for me to soak ice + tap water in for at least 10 minutes, which will help "stop the cooking process on the skin", while I look around for other things.

3. Cold honey

The pain however didn't subside much and I couldn't find toothpaste anywhere. Fortunately while soaking my hand in the cold water and constantly changing the cold water I managed to find another quick solution which was pure honey in the fridge. It did help momentarily while I kept hand slabbed with honey under the chilly air-conditioned wind, long enough for me to reduce at least 10% of the pain before heading out to the near by pharmacy (just 5 doors away) to seek help.

4. Burn-aid cream

It was such a blessing to have a pharmacy close-by! Due to the fact I couldn't find a toothpaste, the Pharmacist had a burn-aid cream that has (I believe) turmeric / iodine substance with mint that helped relieved my hand.

Though it didn't look much on the camera, but you can distinctly see the difference of the back of my hand (that is burnt) and my fingers (that are spared), and all I could hear from the pharmacists was "your skin is cooked". It was indeed feeling as if that someone has been pulling your skin off from your flesh consistently again and again when burning sensation was still intense.

By an hour's time, as the cream melts into the skin pores, my hand started looking as if I have yellow mustard dragon scales!

Another important fact is that when you have a serious burn and it is not in your throat, drinking plenty of water will help the body to generate a proper defense mechanism that will protect the meat from being cooked further from the hot burnt skin by creating blisters.

Learning and accepting blisters are good for you - if it happens

I wish it didn't have blisters formed, but after 12 hours it started surfacing, which means that my body is sufficiently hydrated to create "the protective layer" between the meat and the burnt skin, that a lot of people think it is crucial to pop the blisters, which is a wrong move! That "water layer" will protect the hurt meat from being even more hurt.

At least wait until 24 hours aftermath to assess how bad the blister will become before attempting to drain the water out if it becomes really huge (like my hand).

Even if water draining is needed, it is advised to only have a needle punctured hole while slowly pressing out the water. If the wound itself still needs protection, the body will eventually regenerate the water pocket to continue to protect the burnt area.

That's how awesome our body's defense system is!

Further protection healing of the burnt wound

1. Aloe Vera - dries up the burnt wound faster

Fortunately with the blessing of the Aloe Vera that is still healthily producing much leaves, I started using freshly cut Aloe Vera chunks (after draining the yellow itchy juice) and rub gently onto my burnt hand.

The one thing about Aloe Vera remedy is that the healing could speed up on the surface but the new skin might yet formed, causing early itchiness and might create more friction and slowing down the healing process underneath the skin.

I kept most of the chunks chilled so that my burnt area could feel the cooling sensation while reducing the itch and it does help.

2. Protective breathable membrane - when blister skin punctured bigger

However there could be an incident when the blistered skin punctured earlier than anticipated, where the exposed new skin and flesh can be infected, a breathable membrane will come in handy.

Do be aware that transparent dressings has 2 types; looking for the one that specializes on burnt wound is crucial. Otherwise it is a double whammy because the skin is not able to breathe.

For my case, the most damaged area is at the right side of the back of my hand, so the small membrane plaster that was able to close up all the punctured blistered area.

There are some good and weakness having a membrane patch for the burnt area, and I have easily summed up with 2 notes:

Pro: The membrane itself will keep the old skin from drying up creating the itch

Con: When it starts peeling the old skin will be stuck on the membrane and immediately the new skin will be exposed. Also, the peeling can be hard.

3. Protect the skin further when the peeling starts

After 2 days the membrane is starting to peel but not all parts of the new skin is ready (too thin and not fully formed), then wound ointment like this one came into assistance. This is actually a plant based sesame seed oil ointment my colleague bought for me to help keeping the new skin moisture and protected.

By day 5 20% of the skin start peeling but the new skin is yet ready. I have to protect my hand from exposure (while going to work / doing house chores) with the ointment

Good thing there's another dressing pad that has a glossy surface to help protect my exposed skin, however it can be uncomfortable because the skin is not aired enough. Best to change the dressing twice a day should you choose to use this.

During this period, my other part of the skin that is not plastered with the membrane I continued to apply fresh aloe vera and air it before dressing up with the sesame seed ointment.

How long did I have to continue to keep this dressing style on?

I kept the ointment dressing on while slowly cutting off the membrane that was peeling from the skin, by day 12 when the entire membrane skin is removed, 70% of the new skin is formed and ready, except the blister part that still requires protection.

By day 10 I have switched to a breathable mess (Gauze) to just keep the new skin area protected, while I still gently rub on Aloe Vera and let it dry during dressing change.

I only wrap my hand for protection when I am not resting (doing nothing) or at work (like today); fair to say that after 16 days I am happy enough to say that the worse is over and just a tiny bit more to go my hand will be as good as new!

What a journey this has been!

I pray that you will never need to endure this painful journey ever in your life! But if there is a time that such thing happens, I hope this sharing of mine will be able to help you to be more prepared for burn emergencies and know that with proper treatment, the skin can heal fast!

I personally feel that the properly cleaned fresh Aloe Vera actually helps the healing process a lot faster; especially before all these treatment started I saw a YouTube video on how Aloe Vera actually managed to treat 2nd degree burn pretty well within 20 days.

If you stay in a place where you can plant Aloe Vera, this is definitely a handy plant for emergencies and wellness too!

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9 months ago
Topics: Life, Blog, Experiences, Health, Emergency, ...


Oh my! What degree can you get from a boiling oil? Like when you are cooking fish? Sometimes it splashes to our skin.

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9 months ago

It depends on how bad the splash from the oil to the hand / any part of your body. If they are just tiny dots which is less than 1st degree burn; but if the splash is huge and it is boiling oil, it can go to 2nd - 3rd deg burn (3rd deg is immediate boils on the skin and even bleeding)

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9 months ago

Its hurt to see burn someone. I don't like to see that. I want to see happiness and healthy life to all.

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9 months ago

yeah. no one likes to see it; but if we can learn first aid and act fast when accidents like these happens, then the recovery will be very fast and good.

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9 months ago