Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to Treat a Burn Outdoors

Costa Rica Outward Bound Fall 2010 Leadership students act out burn victim scenarios during their Wilderness First Responder training.

Burns are a common injury for outdoor aficionados. Between sun exposure, cooking accidents and campfire burns, knowing how to treat a burn can be invaluable if you plan on spending time outside.

Here are a few simple tips for treating minor burns:

1. Make sure area is safe: Remove the victim from harm's way and make sure that they are away from the burn source. In the case of a sunburn, try to get them out of the sun if possible. 

2. Cool the burn with cool running water: Do this for several minutes. Even if the skin looks fine, it could still blister later, so keep it cool. Try to use potable water, as salt water may dry out the skin.

3. Relieve the Pain: Over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to help relieve pain, but make sure the victim is not allergic and has eaten prior to giving them medication. 

4. Make sure the victim is hydrated: Burns often cause dehydration and dizziness, so be sure to give the victim water if they are able to drink it. A great natural hydration source if you're in a tropical climate such as Costa Rica is young coconut water, or as it's called in Costa Rica, agua de pipa. 

 Check out this video to learn how to open a young coconut:
Demonstration of How to Open a Young Coconut (Pipa)

Agua de pipa is full of electrolytes, potassium and other minerals such as calcium and magnesium which are great for helping to rehydrate the body and control vomiting, which may be a symptom of burn victims. Additionally, the meat from the inside of the coconut can be used as a salve on the skin to help soothe the pain from minor burns.

1 comment:

Zico said...

You can get bottled coconut water if you don't have raw coconuts.