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December 2011
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Winter Celebrations Around the World
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Holiday Flying Without the Stress
Preventing and Treating Minor Burns
Old World Charm and Enlightenment in Oxford
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Preventing and Treating Minor Burns
A little common sense and some first aid skills can help keep you safe.

A first-degree burn is the least serious type of burn in which only the outer layer of skin is burned, and not all the way through. The skin is usually red, swollen and possibly painful. As long as it doesn’t involve a substantial portion of skin in places like the face or major joints, a first-degree burn can be treated as a minor burn. Even these “minor” burns, however, should be treated correctly to prevent complications. Whether you live alone or with a large family, it’s important to know how to prevent common household burns, as well as how to treat minor burns.

Safe Kids Canada, the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children, reminds parents and caretakers that children are particularly vulnerable to burns because their skin is thinner than an adult's skin. A child's skin burns 4 times more quickly and deeply than an adult's at the same temperature. Scalding injuries, caused by hot water and liquids, are unfortunately common. To avoid these types of burns, be sure to keep cooking materials and hot liquids out of reach when children are nearby. Always test the temperature of bath water and any drinking liquids before they come in contact with a child.

If a minor burn does occur, use these recommendations:

• Cool the burn by holding the injury under cool – not cold – running water for 10 or 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. You can also immerse the burn in a bowl of cool water or use a cold compress.
• Don't put ice on the burn.
• Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage. Don't use fluffy cotton or other materials that easily stick to the wound. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin.
• Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Use caution when giving aspirin to children and teenagers, and call your doctor with any questions or concerns.
• Don't apply butter or ointments to the burn (unless a specific ointment or cream is advised by your healthcare provider).
• Don't break blisters.

Most minor burns heal on their own. If your burn doesn’t heal within 10 days to two weeks, or if you experience a fever, excessive swelling or blisters filled with coloured fluid, however, seek immediate medical attention. For more information about burns and first aid, visit Safe Kids Canada at www.safekidscanada.ca/Parents/Safety-Information/Scalds-and-Burns/Index.aspx.

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