This weekend is sort of the “unofficial” kickoff to spend as much time outside as possible season. And even though the winter was mild by comparison, a lot of Minnesotans are ready to get out and enjoy. 

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I’ve heard several people say one of the things they’re going to do this weekend is build a fire. Whether it’s in the backyard or around the campsite, there’s something about sitting around a firepit or a campfire that is one of the highlights of summer.  

Fires can be fun, relaxing, even romantic, until they aren’t. What I mean is until someone gets hurt. Here are some things you need to know if something bad were to happen.  

According to the American Burn Association, 73% of burns happen at home, so being able to treat the injury properly, quickly is key.  

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
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For a minor burn, the first step is to run cool, not cold, water on the wound for at least five minutes. Make sure you don’t overcool the patient, if they begin to shiver, stop the cooling process immediately.  

Remove all Jewelry and clothing from around the burned area.  

Give the wounded person over the counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  

Cover the area with a sterile bandage. The ABA says that most minor burns will heal without further treatment. 

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
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For more serious injuries, here is when you need to seek medical care.  

If the burn is to your face, eyes, ears, hands, feet or genital parts. If the wound is bubbling, blistering, swollen, and very painful. Also, if the wound has a bad odor or is oozing you should seek medical attention.  

Also, if a burn doesn’t begin to heal after a few days, you should contact your doctor as well. 

Photo by Brad on Unsplash
Photo by Brad on Unsplash
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One additional note, the American Burn Association says not to put home remedies, butter, or ointments on the burn, they can trap heat in the tissue and make the burn worse.  

Also don’t put ice on the burn. 

Regions Hospital in St. Paul is the Burn Center for the Upper Midwest, their phone number is 1-800-922-2876. If you have fires on a regular basis, you should keep this number handy in case of an emergency.  

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