Sunday, August 11, 2013

Childhood Burns - What To Do

So tonight I was going for Worst Mother of the Year - and I won. I had just poured a cup of coffee. I passed my youngest daughter Zoe in the dining room as I went into the living room. I sat my coffee down on and end table and sat down beside it on the couch. In that 10 seconds Zoe came from the dining room to the living room and grabbed the coffee cup.The hot coffee spilled all over her.

Of course she started screaming and we started scrambling. Dustin was pulling her clothes off and I ran into the bathroom and started a cool bath.

Zoe continued to sob as I put her into the cool water - and it broke my heart. I took a moment to examine the burns. Her skin was extremely red - that raw red. It made me hurt just to look at it.

We didn’t have any antibiotic ointment or aloe Vera, so I sent Dustin to the store. I managed to get some Tylenol in Zoe - and then I tried to think of anything to ease her pain.

I started Google'ing burns - and of course there are a million home remedies. But burns are serious business - even first degree burns. The skin is the largest organ we have, though it is easy to forget it’s an organ. But imagine burning your heart or kidney - you'd be terrified.

Home remedies I have used in the past are not the answer. That includes butter, mustard and egg whites. When you injury your skin you are weakening it. The risk of infection goes way up so you don't want to put any food products on your skin.

The best thing to do - we had already done. Apply cold water immediately to the burn. It stops the burning - hopefully preventing it from reaching beyond the first layer of skin.

We kept Zoe in the cold water for 5mins even though she protested. It wasn't freezing water - but it was cold enough to stop the burning.

While waiting for Dustin to come back I discovered some Noxzema in our bathroom. My mother always calls Noxzema the miracle cream. So I gave it a shot and applied it liberally to the burns. A few minutes later Zoe settled down and stopped crying.

When Dustin got home we covered her with ointment and a light t-shirt. I was amazed when an hour later she was walking around and laughing. More amazed by how much better the burns looked.

The burns were just red - there was no blistering. Her hand appeared slightly swollen, but it wasn’t bad. Still - when it doubt, seek medical treatment. I would head to the hospital right away if you suspect second degree burns - and call an ambulance if third degree burns are possible.

The truth is there are no perfect parents. As careful as I always am with my hot drinks - accidents still happen. The bright side is we took action right away and Zoe is already feeling better.

So just to review because I know some of us swear by our home remedies. But when it comes to burns you may be making the problem worst instead of making it better.

Before you do anything, get cold water onto a burn. It stops the burning. Do not use ice.

I will swear by Noxzema from now on as well - as long as the burn is not blistering and there is no open wound.

Keep your child comfortable in a cool room with light clothing. Keep giving them pain reliever every 4-6 hours (or the recommended dosage).

If the burn seems to be getting worse, go to the hospital right away.

And forgive yourself. I know I had to.

Did you ever have that moment when you just felt like the worst parent in the world?


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