Blue and Burnt

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Last week wasn’t a good week.

I’m sorry if that showed in my writing or lack of posting.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a particularly brilliant week quite early on Monday.

Then late Monday afternoon I, for some excellent reason which both I and my entirely sympathetic and supportive husband couldn’t fathom, poured boiling water on my head and spent the evening in A&E.

The rest of my week was entirely devoted to burn care and attempting to eke a little bit of sympathy and/or support from my darling husband while feeling decidedly rotten.

The original prognosis was at least two weeks not brushing or washing my hair which is enough to make me blue.  However bad things get,  I have to have clean hair, no matter what.

Fortunately by Wednesday it seemed as though, even when completely and utterly dozy, I have pretty fast reaction times and had therefore only splashed a minimal amount of boiling water on my head before I swiftly parted company with the jug and started screaming.

This limited the amount of immediate damage I did then of course I applied liberal cold water straightaway before later hitting the ice.

Thursday night I could wash my very icky hair again and things started looking up.

And why and how I did, I don’t know.  I was trying to wash my hair on my own to stop my bluesy week getting any worse.  I do remember adding the kettle water to the jug but I swear I added the cold too.  But obviously not.

But word to the wise, don’t pour any amount of boiling water on your head.  It will hurt.

Oh, and you’ll go through an awful lot of frozen peas.

~~~~

I learnt a lot about burn management last week and none of it from the hospital (whose advice, scarily, was plain out of date again) so some collated burn care tips:

  • Don’t do it in the first place.
  • If  a burn is on your face, hands, feet or down under then trot off to hospital straightaway.
  • If it’s a third degree burn (all the way through the skin layers, skin is charred or dry and white), get to hospital fast.  Never try to treat this kind of burn yourself.  Don’t remove any clothing or apply anything directly to the skin.  Elevate the affected part if possible above the heart.
  • Don’t burn the back of your head as the doctors can’t dress it unless you have a shaved head, I don’t.  It will also be annoyingly present all the time and you can’t personally inspect your own damage. (OK, that one is facetious).
  • Apply tap cold water liberally as soon as a burn happens, for larger areas immerse the body part or the entire person (if not in a high risk group, see below) in cool water.
  • For small burns on low risk people (not the elderly, children, pregnant) once you’ve lowered the temperature with cold water you can use ice packs too, just make sure they’re covered.  You don’t want an ice burn too.
  • Take painkiller too if you feel it’s necessary.
  • If you need to dress a burn then use a sterile gauze bandage, never something sticky or fluffy.  Cling film is also a good choice, just don’t wrap too tightly in case of swelling (some sources suggest layers instead) and always throw away the first few inches to make sure it’s really clean.
  • A second degree burn will blister, don’t burst the blister or you risk infection.
  • Don’t use any creams and definitely never butter!  Once it starts healing over, apply aloe vera or honey.
  • In the unlikely event it doesn’t heal within three weeks, get a referral to a specialist burns (sometimes under plastic surgery) unit.
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6 thoughts on “Blue and Burnt

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