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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Dealing with burn injuries on Diwali: Here’s what you need to keep in mind

The first thing that one should do is wash the burn area with running tap water!

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | November 13, 2020 8:30:17 pm
Diwali injuries, Diwali burn injuries, dealing with burn injuries on Diwali, how to treat burn injuries, staying safe on Diwali, firecrackers, indian express newsTuck the loose end of the saree and dupatta when near the fire. (Source: Pixabay)

Diwali, the festival of lights, has always been celebrated on a large scale across the country. While it is largely a joyous occasion, which warrants doing normal activities at home like lighting of diyas and cleaning the house, there is a certain dangerous exposure to fire during this time.

Despite being instructed otherwise, some people continue to buy firecrackers, and as such, there is a chance of a burn injury on the day. Dr Shilpi Bhadani, plastic and aesthetic surgeon, and founder SB Aesthetics, Gurugram, tells indianexpress.com that as a plastic surgeon, she sees “quite a few burn injuries during and immediately after Diwali”. “Sometimes these burn injuries are serious enough to warrant hospital admission and treatment.”

There are certain myths and wrong practices that have been associated with burn injuries, the doctor says. “People usually pour ice cold water on a burn. They also rub ice or toothpaste on the burn injury. Both these practices do more harm than good!”

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So, what needs to be done?

“The first thing that one should do is wash the burn area with running tap water. This cools the area and decreases the depth of the burn. It has the immediate effect of limiting the severity of the burn injury. Applying any kind of toothpaste will lead to an increase in the sugar content in the area of the burn, and will lead to more chances of infection,” explains Dr Bhadani.

Once the burn area is thoroughly washed with running water for at least five minutes, one can apply an antibiotic ointment, preferably a silver-based ointment. If they see blisters , they should not burst them and instead seek medical help.

“Painkillers also form an important part of treatment, as they make the patient comfortable during the healing period. The dressings for a second-degree burn should always be closed and contrary to popular beliefs, there should be no open dressings for the burn area. For hand burns, physiotherapy forms an important part of the treatment,” the doctor says.

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But, what about more severe burns which cannot be managed at home?

“When we see a burn patient in the clinic, we wash the wound thoroughly. We do not rub the wounds or burst the blisters. Assessment of the percentage and depth of burn is done and treatment is decided accordingly. Prevention of tetanus is important and immunisation history is understood; if needed, we administer a vaccine for it. A specialised burn dressing is done — this involves a non-sticky dressing with an antibiotic ointment or advanced collagen dressings. The burn area is properly bandaged and medications are advised. Proper follow-up is also important because the treatment requires expert supervision,” explains Dr Bhadani.

Basic things to keep in mind:

* Avoid wearing loose clothes, especially when near a flame.
* Tuck the loose end of the saree and dupatta when near the fire.
* Children must not be left unsupervised, because burn injuries tend to be more serious in children.

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