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From the prehospital literature
 Edited by Malcolm Woollard, from the British Paramedic Association Research and Audit Committee and the Faculty of Prehospital Care Research Unit

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Put the fire out! Please… ▸

Information on first aid treatment for burns is widely available to the public. The initial treatment of a burn differs little whether provided by emergency medical services (EMS) or a lay person. This study reviewed the first aid treatment of all burns patients referred for plastic surgery in Galway, Ireland over a 6 month period. Surgical teams found many patients had not cooled their burn to stop the burning process. Lay people and patients applied a variety of non-medically recognised treatments such as tea tree oil, butter, mud, and sand, prolonging the burning. Delayed presentation of the patient to either hospital or primary care varied from 1 to 1008 hours (6 weeks) after occurrence of the burn. This lack of knowledge in initial management has implications for overall morbidity and mortality. Other studies cited by the authors found that this lack of awareness was a global problem, particularly in parental care of children.

EMS personnel should be aware that the first aid application of inappropriate substances may have occurred and that a significant time delay could have elapsed prior to the emergency call. …

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