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A person's clothes may catch fire or some hot liquid fall over a part of his body. Such accidents are common throughout the country and if prompt measures are taken a lot of physical suffering could be avoided. Sometimes the life of the victim may be saved by timely action. Severe and extensive burns are produced by the clothes catching fire. Sometimes the clothes of man-made fibers melt under the action of the fire and stick to the skin.

Burns are classified into six degrees: (i) first degree burns are very light which produce only redness of the skin which can be painful, but not dangerous; (ii) second degree burns consist of blebs on the skin which heal without leaving any scar; (iii) third degree burns are most serious because the scarf-skin or the epidermis peeled off, the true skin is destroyed in part exposing the endings of the sensory nerves; (iv) fourth degree burns consist in the destruction of the entire skin of a part of the body along with the nerves; there is less pain, but if the patient recovers, his body is deformed; (v) in fifth degree burns, the muscles are also destroyed; and (vi) the sixth degree burns consist in destruction of a whole limb which separates from the body.

When a person's garments catch fire, he should roll on the ground so that the flames are rubbed into extinction. The onlookers should wrap him tightly in a quilt or a blanket so that oxygen is shut off and the fire extinguished. If the burns are serious, the victim should be immediately removed to hospital. Pending the arrival of medical aid or his reaching the hospital, Soda Bicarb (or baking powder) should be dissolved in water and applied to the burns. If the burns are of the first degree, it will help keep the skin intact, i.e. there will not be any blisters. Another alternative is to grind a raw potato and apply the paste to the burnt skin. In case blisters form, they should be punctured with a clean needle or a pin and a paste of lime water and linseed or coconut oil should be smeared over them. Two tolas of slaked lime and six tolas of linseed or sesame oil or cow's ghee should be ground in a mortar and six mashas of camphor added to it. Lime ointment is the most effective remedy for burns. Ashes of the bark of the Farash tree (tamarix articulate) should be sprinkled on the burnt parts coated with coconut or sesame oil.


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