Having spent many years as a family seeking support for one of my sisters it was my daughter who mentioned the Katie Piper foundation following a documentary she had recently watched. I subsequently researched the charity as I was unaware of the kind of support it offered.
One of my younger sisters had suffered severe burns as a child and although now in her forties, we as a family had been unable to find support for her to cope both emotionally and physically. The only part of her body which remains unscarred is a small patch on her cheek and another on her abdomen. She wears a wig and spent most of her early childhood in hospital.
Understandably her confidence has always been a challenge for her and ensuring she felt as comfortable as possible with her hair and makeup was a constant concern for us. We spent years applying for grants for wigs only to be frequently rejected. My parents paid for as much as they could but this became very difficult in later years and more so once my Dad passed away.
I rang the Foundation in the hope that we may get some direction to help my sister as she had been going through a particularly tough time. At the very first conversation I was made to feel very comfortable and that finally someone was listening. Within weeks they had provided my sister with a new wig which looked fabulous and had discussed a whole variety of ongoing support for her. I remember her saying to me “it’s like a dream come true, I’d stopped believing there were people out there who would help me.”
Over the forthcoming months she spent time having her eyebrows tattooed back and even went away for a weekend with the Foundation, to meet others who have endured similar challenges. In the forty years of coping daily with her challenges, this was the first time she had spent time talking to others in a similar situation. The affect on her was amazing. She has gone from despair to looking forward to things in life. She has started attending family gatherings again and has even been away on holiday. Activities she has not done for several years.
The kindness and care shown to her by the Foundation and everyone involved with it has been a life changing experience not just for my sister but for us as a family. She will always have to live with her emotional and physical scars but the help received from the foundation has meant that instead of just coping through life, she is living it. We have our sister back!
Thank you all so much
KPF is reminding people of the importance of administering the right first aid for burns and scalds, as part of National Burns Awareness Day on 19 October.
It is estimated that around 300 people a day are seen with a burn in A&E departments across England and Wales.
While most burns are usually minor, and do not require specialist treatment, it is important that you know what to do if you, or a friend or family member, suffer a burn.
Giving the right first aid quickly following a burn or a scald can make an enormous difference to a person’s recovery time and the severity of their scarring, yet more than half of all children and adults with a burn injury do not receive appropriate first aid at the scene.
Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns and scalds, with hot drinks the most common cause of scald injury in children, followed by contact with electric cookers, hair straighteners, irons and central heating radiators.
The elderly are most often burnt by contact with central heating radiators or baths that are too hot, while hot fat, barbecues, bonfires also pose a potential burns risk to us all. Never try to speed up your barbecue with petrol or other flammable accelerants.
Contrary to popular myth, the use of toothpaste, butter, cream, eggs or ice to “soothe” burn wounds does not help burn wounds to heal. In fact, any oil-based substances, like butter or cream, can trap heat in the wound and ice may cause a frostbite injury, leading to deepening of the burn, which may require surgery and result in a scar.
You can make a real difference to a person’s chances of recovering by remembering to “Cool, Call and Cover” – these are the three steps recommended for the initial management of a burn injury.
Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing around the burn area and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly struck to the wound)
Cooling the burn wound with cold water for 20 minutes immediately, or at least within three hours of injury, is the most important factor in reducing the severity of burn wounds. Cooling reduces swelling and the depth of injury, provides pain relief, cleans the wound and improves healing. This prevents deepening of the burn wound and will result in a more superficial burn that heals with less scarring.
Any jewellery surrounding the burn should be removed as this can restrict blood flow to the site of the injury. Any clothing surrounding the burn and nappies should also be removed as early as possible as they can retain heat
Call for help
You can call the NHS 111 service for initial advice on treating burns. They will also be able to tell you where to go if the burn needs medical attention. You can also call your local GP. In an emergency, call 999.
Cover the burn with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm
Once you have cooled the burn (step 1), apply loose strips of cling film over the wound and seek medical help as necessary.
Only the burn area should be cooled and all attempts should be made to keep the injured person warm.
By remembering to Cool, Call and Cover you can be a burns hero by giving the right initial first aid to someone who has suffered a burn – even if it’s yourself.
More information about treating burns and scalds is available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/conditions/Burns-andscalds
Thank you to Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for providing the above information.