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Be Your Own EMT

Fast fixes for 10 common (or freak) accidents.

Suffer a Burn

“Burns caused by grease, contact with a hot surface, fire, scalding water, or even the sun should all be treated carefully to prevent infection,” says Ross. Burns are typically described in terms of their severity:

1. First degree: affects only the top layers of skin; symptoms are redness and pain.
2. Second degree: reaches underlying layers of skin; symptoms include swelling and blisters.
3. Third degree: destroys all layers of skin and nerves; symptoms can be black or white skin, extreme pain—or even absence of pain.

● Call 911 if you have burns to the hands, feet, face, mouth, or groin; if more than 1% of the body’s is burned (1% of the body’s surface is roughly equivalent to the size of your palm, says Ross); or if you have third-degree burns.
● For first-degree or small second-degree burns, run the skin under cold water for 10 minutes.
● Don’t put ice, butter, or ointment on the burned skin. Cool with a moist compress.
● Cover loosely with sterile gauze bandage.
● Do not break blisters or peel off affected skin. Just leave it alone.



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