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Ohio Department of Aging Aging Connection - January 2010

Aging Connection

CONNECT TO | Health & Wellness
February 2010

Treating Burns
Immediate First Aid Can Help Lessen Their Severity

Burns hurt, are scary and they destroy skin, which controls the amount of heat our bodies retain or release, holds in fluids and protects us from infection. Burns can be treated with simple first aid and they are the one injury that medical experts agree must be treated before medical help arrives. Immediate first aid can help lessen the severity of the burn and can help prevent scarring, disability and deformity.

There are three levels of burns. First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin, causing pain, redness and swelling. Second-degree burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of skin, causing pain, redness, swelling and blistering. Third-degree burns extend into deeper tissues, causing white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb.

Treating a burn begins by stopping the burning process. Hold the burned area under cold running water for at least five minutes, or until the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cold water or cool it with cold compresses. Cooling the burn reduces swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. Never put ice on a burn.

Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage to keep air off the burned skin, reduce pain and protect blistered skin. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin and do not use fluffy cotton, which may irritate the skin. Treat the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers, including aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

When treating burns, never:

  • Apply ointment, butter, medications, cream, oil spray or any household remedy to a severe burn;
  • Disturb blistered or dead skin; or
  • Remove clothing that is stuck to the skin.

While burns on fingers and hands are usually not dangerous, burns injuring even relatively small areas of skin can develop serious complications. If you think a burn of any type is significant, apply appropriate first aid and call 9-1-1 immediately.

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Health & Wellness

U.S. Life Expectancy Reaches All-Time High
Life expectancy for newborns reached a new high of 77.9 years, according to data reported in 2007 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2007. The average 65-year-old senior can now expect to live another 19 years, to nearly age 84. Record high life expectancy was recorded for both males (75.3 years) and females (80.4 years). Heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death, accounted for nearly half (48.5 percent) of all deaths in 2007.

Guide for Healthy Traveling
No matter where you are traveling, the CDC recommends that you know what steps to take if you become ill. The CDC Guide for Safe and Healthy Traveling advises people to be proactive, prepared and protected. Some tips include: Find out whether there are special safety issues you should be concerned about, such as water contamination; always carry your insurance information with you and know how it will work outside of your hometown; and don't forget to pack important medications in your carry-on luggage, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.