Appropriate first aid must be used to treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible. This will limit the amount of damage to your skin.
You can apply the following first aid techniques to yourself or another person who's been burnt.
First aid for burns
Stop the burning process as soon as possible. This may mean removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water, or smothering flames with a blanket. Do not put yourself at risk of getting burnt as well.
Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin, including babies' nappies. But do not try to remove anything that's stuck to the burnt skin, as this could cause more damage.
Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes as soon as possible after the injury. Never use ice, iced water, or any creams or greasy substances like butter.
Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person's body temperature drops below 35C (95F). This is a risk if you're cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.
Treat the pain from a burn with paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always check the manufacturer's instructions when using over-the-counter medication. Children under 16 years of age should not be given aspirin.
Sit upright as much as possible if the face or eyes are burnt. Avoid lying down for as long as possible, as this will help reduce swelling.
When to go to hospital
Once you have taken these steps, you'll need to decide whether further medical treatment is necessary.
Electrical burns may not look serious, but they can be very damaging. Someone who has an electrical burn should seek immediate medical attention at an A&E department.
If the person has been injured by a low-voltage source (up to 220 to 240 volts) such as a domestic electricity supply, safely switch off the power supply or remove the person from the electrical source using a material that doesn't conduct electricity, such as a wooden stick or a wooden chair.
Do not approach a person who's connected to a high-voltage source (1,000 volts or more).