HOW TO EASE YOUR SENIOR’S BURN PAINS?
Nothing screams for your attention as much as the pain of a burn. And as you get older, that pain becomes an even more important signal. With age, skin becomes thinner, and a burn – say, a scald from hot tea spilling on your forearm – will reach much deeper tissue and do more damage than it would have when you were in your twenties.
In addition, growing older means that your general rate of healing will be slower, leaving more time for the burn to become infected. For these reasons, even small burns on older people can be very serious and should be looked at checked by a doctor.
Age makes you vulnerable to getting burned by leaving you a little less agile and less able to break contact with a flame or hot surface. So while you may have spent a lifetime cooking in a housecoat or robe and dodging the dangers of a dangling sleeve over a hot burner, your age and the declining speed of your reflexes may catch up with you.
BURN AND ITS DEGREES: HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
- FIRST-DEGREE BURNS, which damage the outer layer of skin, are marked by pain and redness.
- SECOND-DEGREE BURNS cause damage that extends below the outer layer of skin and leaves blistering and pain its wake.
- THIRD-DEGREE BURNS damage half the full thickness of the skin – as well as tissue, muscle, and bone below the skin – and leave an open, charred wound.
If you’re taking care of a beloved elder, it’s important to know some first-aid remedies against burn. So the next time they’ll accidentally touch a hot kettle, you’ll know how to ease their pain and provide them comfort – like the care expert that you are.
Follow these tips to quell the pain that accompanies even the least severe burn:
- Go with a cold flow. Get the burned part of your senior in cold water fast to numb the pain and cut down on swelling. For a milder first-degree burn, holding the burned area under the faucet as you run the cold water maybe sufficient. For a burn that’s really red and shows signs of blistering, use ice. Wrap the ice in a clean towel or washcloth and apply it to the burn. You can even use a bag of frozen vegetables in a pinch. Just keep applying the cold water or the ice or the frozen veggies until the worst of the pain is gone. Don’t keep the ice on for more than 20 minutes without a break, though, or you may damage your skin.
- Cleanse the burn. If the burned skin looks as though it is blistering, or if there is an open wound, you’ll want to lessen the risk of an even more painful infection by cleaning the area. Wash it gently twice a day with mild soap and water or rinse it with hydrogen peroxide. Afterward, apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound.
- Opt for aloe. This member of the lily family has been used as a home remedy foron burns and other skin problems for centuries – that’s because aloe really works. It’s wonderful for burns and as what most burn patients would say, aloe vera just knocks the pain out right away! If you have an aloe plant in your garden, you can use a leaf from it. Cut the leaf off the plant and squeeze the gooey gel out of the plant onto your loved one’s burned site. If you don’t have a plant handy, you can buy aloe gel in the drugstore. Just look for a product that is pure aloe vera.
- Beat blister blues. If your senior’s burn is bad enough, a blister will form under his or her their skin and become a pain in its own right. If you can, leave it alone. It will eventually drain and dry out on its own. If it’s bothering your loved ones, there is another option. Sterilize the area and a needle and just drain it. Avoid peeling off the remaining skin of the blister. Their skin will stay more protected and be less likely to get infected.
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