Treating Burn Injuries from Fireworks

By Intermountain Trauma Managers Group

Practicing firework safety is the first step you should take in order to keep you and your loved ones out of harms way, this Fourth of July. But how can you treat accidental burns, if someone you care about is injured this holiday? Brad Morris, physician assistant with Intermountain Medical Center Trauma Services, shares some tips on how you can treat burns and symptoms related to the injury.

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What is the first thing I should do if a burn occurs?

The most important thing to do first is make sure it is clean and dry. In all cases you should be able to use a mild soap and lukewarm water to clean and sanitize the wound.

Are topical ointments recommended?

Using Neosporin or other topical ointment isn’t necessarily required in all situations. Sometimes, using it excessively can keep the wound moist and can delay the healing process to some degree. If you initially cleaned the wound and can keep it clean and dry, you may not need an antibiotic ointment at all.

How can I manage the pain if I’ve been burned?

Most individuals with burns can take an ibuprofen or Tylenol at the recommended over-the-counter dosage to mange pain. There are also some topical pain relievers that can be used, such as burn free wipes; which have a light dose of numbing medication in them. Always be sure to follow the guidelines provided on the packaging of the pain-relieving medications.

When should I seek the help of a Physician or Practitioner for my burn?

As a general guideline, if the size of the wound is bigger than the palm of your hand it may need a second opinion or further evaluation. If the burn occurs around the eyes, nose, ears, toes, and fingers, regardless of size, it’s recommended that a practitioner evaluate you - as the wound may become problematic. Lastly, if you notice symptoms of the wound becoming infected (i.e. increased pain, fevering, streaking redness, etc.) you should see a physician.

How can I reduce the scaring from my burn?

Be sure to protect the scab from being torn or peeled off. As the scab comes of maturely, protecting the new skin underneath the scab with sunblock can help reduce scaring.