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In Hot Water

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)

Itís also risky to leave a loved one with a history of heart attacks and/or strokes alone. It is not uncommon for a loved one to have a medical emergency in the shower and, while losing consciousness, accidentally turn the water hotter and end up with severe, debilitating burns.

Another possible risk for scalding is the potential for hot water ďspikesĒ that occur when someone nearby flushes a toilet, starts the washing machine or runs water from a different tap.

With all these risks, itís hard to manage all the possibilities.  A caregiver can take a look at their loved oneís health and lifestyle, and then determine which is the best action for them.

Next steps

If a loved one is scalded, the first thing to do is reduce the skin temperature and pain level, and prevent wound infection. Here are some tips on steps for a caregiver to take:

  • Keep calm.

  • Immerse or rinse the wound with cold water for at least 10 minutes to reduce temperature and pain.

  • Do not apply ice pack directly to the wound to avoid further tissue damage.

  • Remove objects such as watches, wristbands, rings, tight clothing, belts, boots or shoes as the wound may become swollen.

  • Do not remove clothes stuck to the wound because they may tear the skin and increase the risk of infection.

  • Do not pierce the blisters to prevent wound infection.

  • Do not apply herbal oil, toothpaste, lotion, soap or cooking oil to the wound to avoid irritation and further tissue damage.

  • Cover the wound with sterile lint-free dressing or clear cling film for protection.

  • Do not put adhesive materials such as a cotton wool swab or adhesive bandage directly on the wound.

Aspirin or acetaminophen may help reduce the pain. A burn that is painful for longer than 48 hours needs to be seen by a physician. If a severe burn is unmanageable by a caregiver, it also needs prompt attention and may necessitate hospitalization. The Mayo Clinic says that large portions of hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks require immediate care.


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