Use of Hydrogel products
Hydrogel products should be considered for first aid when there is no access to clean water or there may be a prolong period before getting medical assistance.
They are cooling and often analgesic
There are several hydrogel products on the first aid market. Some hydrogel products contain 90% water and melaleuca oil in a proprietary gel. It is postulated that tea tree oil has useful antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and this product is included in some formulations.
Hydrogel products can be used in adults with burns as a temporary dressing for up to 24 hours as long as the burn has been cooled prior to its application.
Do not use hydrogel products in children.
In adults with extensive burns, do not leave hydrogel products on for longer than 20 minutes due to their increased risk of hypothermia and reassess the burns before re applying a new dressing.
Cover the Burn
Where the surface is blistered and/or raw, the wound should be covered with a non-adhesive dressing.
In the absence of any wound dressings, cover the wound with plastic film wrap or clean cloth to keep the burn wound clean until definitive management can occur.
Plastic film wrap is a suitable dressing for patients being transferred to the burns services within 6 hours
Avoid wrapping affected area circumferentially with plastic film wrap as this can have a tourniquet effect as oedema worsens.
What complications can present with a Major Burn?
Some of the potential complications of major burns include:
- injury to lungs and Air Wayfrom smoke inhalation, you may require to place them in recover position to help maintain and open airway.
- hypovolaemia– loss of fluid from burnt skin. This may lead to shock.
- heat loss(hypothermia) – since burnt skin is unable to properly regulate body temperature, cover the non-burnt areas with a blanket or shock/space blanket to help keep them warm.