Even before Hatzalah arrives, you can do a lot to lessen the severity of a burn. Read this and act fast.
On the first day of Yom Tov, with a house full of guests, my four year old pulled a pot of oil off the gas range onto himself. There were adults all around and he asked us, “Are there more Arancini Balls?”
We said, “No” but he didn’t believe us and wanted to see for himself. In one split second, the pot of oil, still hot from frying, was all over his body. My first reaction was to run out the door. But before followed my impulses, I very calmly lifted him up, put him directly in the sink, and started pouring cool water over his entire body, while instructing the other screaming kids to stop yelling (they were freaking out from the fear) and to start grating potatoes. Within minutes, three graters were out (who knew I had so many!) and the kids had grated potatoes ready for me. I started applying it to whatever skin I saw.
As a result of his quest for Arancini Balls, my son had some minor burns on his neck, hands, and legs and second degree burns on his upper arm and leg, but it could have been much worse. Yes, we called Hatzalah and took him to be checked out by a doctor but I truly believe the initial first aid is what helped him the most. And I can’t credit for it. In the past 2 years, I’ve read countless articles about burns in Ami Magazine, Wellsprings, and possibly more places. My subconscious took over, Hashem put those thoughts into my head; I really have no other explanation. How did I know that grated potatoes helped so much? Because the areas that I didn’t put the potatoes on as fast (I didn’t notice those burns until I undressed him a few minutes into the process) were the worst. I also watched how the red skin got lighter and smaller as I switched the potatoes. Since I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, five minutes in, I placed his body into a cool bath and when Hatzalah arrived, they checked him for shock and supervised him while he soaked in the water for a good 10 minutes.
(This, I later learned, is recommended by Hatzalah as it helps alleviate pain but not by any natural burn specialist as water can further cook the burns! There is also a concern for the patient to go into shock.)
After visiting the doctor, I started using the Burn Gemach’s cream on my son. Doctors don’t recommend this cream since it’s not yet FDA-approved, but I’ve seen amazing results with no scarring. Two weeks later, it was hard to tell where the burn was in most areas.
Mrs. Green in Yerushalayim is the originator of the concept of the Burn Gemach. She makes specialty creams that are lifesaving for burns, cellulitis, and skin ulcers. Today you can get those creams at Burn Gemachs all over the USA and Israel. Supreme Health Stores sell her creams under the MR Health brand. MR stands for Miriam Rosenfeld, a student of Mrs. Green, who taught many woman the method and helped spread the word in the U.S.
So what exactly should you do when you get a burn?
I asked Mrs. Green and she said NOT to put on any water or potatoes. She said to put on her cream, then wrap the burn with Saran Wrap and change it every 10 minutes. What if you don’t have her cream?
Here are the basic first aid instructions from the Chaya Malka Burn Foundation that corresponds with Mrs. Green’s advice and that of the Burn Gemachs:
Treatment for Burns from Flame, Hot Water, or Oil
First Response to Burns
Chose one of the following – the fastest you can get to:
- HONEY: apply and cover with Saran Wrap, change every 10 minutes until the pain is gone.
- ALOE VERA: apply and cover with Saran Wrap, change every 10 minutes until the pain is gone.
- WHITE POTATOES: thinly grate & apply 1 inch (2.5 cm high) and cover with Saran Wrap, change every 1 to 1½ to 3 hours until the pain is gone.
CLEAR PLASTIC WRAP will dissipate the heat and arrest tissue damage for the first 10 minutes. No plastic wrap? You can use ALUMINUM FOIL: Lift the aluminum foil for a second every minute to let the heat out. If you are alone, get some help. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.
As the site is cooling off, the color of the burn should change from bright red to pink, and then to its normal color. Watch for reddening of the area. If you think the burn is infected, get expert help from a burn expert or emergency services in a burn center, hospital emergency room, or Hatzalah. You can use antibiotic powder sprinkled on top of the healing cream, then clear plastic wrap to prevent the bandage from sticking and cover with gauze to protect the delicate skin.
Change the bandage twice a day until the infection is healed. When the affected area is larger than one’s palm, oral antibiotics are recommended to prevent infection.
NEVER BREAK BLISTERS.
Submerging a severe burn in water is not recommended as it can cause the skin to blister.
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