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.
KPF was well represented at the Annual Conference of The British Burns Association in Newcastle in May.
There was an open meeting of the publishing team of KPF’s academic journal Scars, Burns and Healing.
In addition, KPF presented two posters:
“Analysis of 724 approaches to a national charity for help with burns and scars – are there implications for the charity and burns services?” KPF Audit poster BBA 2016 and “Scoping and development of an online peer support forum for burns survivors and individuals with traumatic scars.” KPF Forum poster BBA 2016
A big thank you to KPF Friend Tracy Reid who spoke to nurses from across Scotland as part of the Burns Module of the Burns & Plastics Graduate Certificate Course at the University of Glasgow. Tracy gave a presentation on the support services provided by the Foundation and shared some of her personal experiences of attending and organising social activities for people with burns and scars.
In a recent study published in the SAGE open access journal Scars, Burns & Healing, in affiliation with The Katie Piper Foundation, leading researchers from the St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns conducted a 15- year retrospective study of twenty-one victims of assault using corrosive substances in order to better understand this method of violence, support the victims, and review current criminal legislative proceedings and preventative legislations in the UK.
Whilst acid attacks within the UK are gaining increased media attention surrounding a concern about rising incidence, the data is reassuring in one sense suggesting that occurrences are in fact remaining generally constant, with an average of 7 attacks taking place every 4 years within the study. They also found that victims were mostly young men, assaulted by male perpetrators, a very different demographic compared to similar attacks in Low and Middle Income countries including India, Iran, Jamaica, Bangladesh and Uganda and Cambodia.
Of concern, the proportion of victims who fully pursued criminal charges against their attacker was very low and only 9 out of twenty-one cases (43%) were criminally investigated. Although the authors felt that there was “no need for any legislative change in the UK, unlike other countries, as the sentencing powers reflect the severity of the crime”, they did mitigate the need to better understand the legal considerations of attacks using corrosive substances in order to better support the victim. The researchers explain:
“As the first point of contact in a protected environment such as in hospital, this may be the only opportunity to provide these patients with a setting in which they may feel ‘safe’ enough to accept help.”
The authors emphasize that “prevention is key”, and call for tighter regulations around the purchase of corrosive substances. They note that whilst it is impossible to stop the public from purchasing corrosive agents such as heavy-duty drain cleaners, “a legal requirement for sellers to record details of every purchase should be implemented” and state that these measures are “likely to have a significant impact on reducing future rates of these attacks.”
Professor Shokrollahi, Consultant Burns & Plastic Surgeon and Editor-in-Chief of Scars, Burns & Healing further commented:
“This is a very important paper as there has been very little data and information regarding these types of assaults in the United Kingdom. Whilst there is no evidence of an epidemic, and of the 250,000 burns per annum in the UK these injuries account for less than 1 percent, it is still an alarming problem that we need to address – 21 cases in one burns service is 21 too many. There is a clear need to limit access to corrosive substances in a strategic way, but work needs to be done to ensure limiting access to one substance does not simply result in a shift to a different, more accessible substance.”
The article,“Assaults from corrosive substances and medico legal considerations in a large regional burn centre in the United Kingdom: Calls for increased vigilance and enforced legislation” by Alethea Tan, Amrit Kaur Bharj, Metin Nizamoglu, David Barnes and Peter Dziewulski, is free to access, download and distribute for non-commercial purposes here.
Professor Shokrollahi recently contributed to a BBC interview discussing the problem of acid attacks victims. The interview, along with perspectives from an acid attack survivor, can be heard here.
SAGE Founded 50 years ago by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community, SAGE publishes more than 850 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. www.sagepub.com
Scars, Burns & Healing is a peer reviewed, open access journal affiliated with The Katie Piper Foundation, which brings together the specialist focus of scar and burns research with the breadth of the science and medicine related to healing. Research in diverse fields from tissue engineering to genetics is increasingly brought to bear on scar and burns research improving our understanding of disease in general and paving the way for better treatments. https://uk.sagepub.com/scars-burns-healing
Professor Kayvan Shokrollahi – Consultant Burns, Plastic and Laser Surgeon – and KPF Chairman – spoke at the Scar Club Conference in Montpellier this month.
In addition to her work with the Foundation, Katie is busy completing filming of her latest series of “Bodyshockers” for Channel 4, whilst her one-off documentary “Katie Piper: Extraordinary Births” was broadcast in September, where she met yoga instructors, fruitarians, a weightlifter, ballet dancer and many other parents-to-be, who discussed their approach to pregnancy and their dream plans for giving birth.
In partnership with leading medical publishers SAGE – The Katie Piper Foundation will be publishing a new academic journal entitled Scars, Burns & Healing. The journal will bring together the specialist focus of scar and burns research with the breadth of the science and medicine related to wound healing.
A truly multi-disciplinary journal, Scars, Burns & Healing will seek to publish suitable material relevant to all clinical specialties related to scar and burn care and all scientific disciplines from genetics and immunology, to nanotechnology and tissue engineering related to wound healing.
Scars, Burns & Healing will welcome submissions from a range of clinical and academic authors including: Surgeons, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, Nurses, Wound Specialists, Dieticians, Epidemiologists, Critical Care Physicians, Anaesthetists & Intensivists, Geneticists, Immunologists, Haematologists, Pharmacologists, Microbiologists, Physiologists and Biomedical Engineers.
For more information click here.
People who have been affected by burns can now benefit from free hair transplant surgery as part of their rehabilitative treatments, thanks to a new partnership between The Katie Piper Foundation and one of the world’s leading hair transplant surgery clinics – The Farjo Hair Institute – a centre of excellence in the UK for hair transplant surgery, hair loss medicine, research and hair restoration education.
This partnership will enable the Foundation to offer The Farjo Hair Institute’s hair restoration surgeries and treatments on a complimentary basis to burn survivors, helping them to overcome the physical and psychological scars left by burns.
“The loss of hair through burns and traumatic scarring can have a significant impact on an individual’s confidence and well-being and serve as a constant reminder of their trauma,” said Katie Piper Foundation Charity Services Manager, Ezinna Rospigliosi. “An important part of their psychological recovery is linked to their physical appearance and we are pleased to be able to offer The Farjo Hair Institute’s services to our beneficiaries who require hair restoration.”
Founded by Drs Bessam Farjo and Nilofer Farjo in 1993, the Farjo Hair Institute has been at the forefront of research and development in hair restoration for more than 20 years and offers consultations and surgery in Manchester and London. Lead London surgeon and Farjo consultant, Dr Greg Williams, a former burns surgeon, is the only member of BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) who performs hair transplant surgery on a full-time basis. He said “People who have suffered burns or scarring often find that it affects their self-esteem and a core element of their recovery is addressing the psychological damage. This is intrinsically linked to personal perception, so surgeries or procedures that can help them look as much like they did before are therefore a vital part of the recovery process.”
Dr Bessam Farjo, who is also the Medical Director of the Institute of Trichologists and past president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, added:
“Technological advances now mean that it is possible to restore hair where it has been lost due to burns scars. We are delighted to be partnering with The Katie Piper Foundation to offer men and women who have been affected by burns the chance to see themselves how they did before they were burned. Through hair restoration surgery, people can restore their hairlines, facial hair, eyebrows or eyelashes, helping them to feel more like their old selves – a hugely important step in their psychological recovery.”
In addition to hair transplant surgery, The Foundation can provide access to a range of options for hair restoration for people with total or partial hair loss due to a burn injury, including hair replacements systems, wigs and hairpieces. For more information please see Hair Restoration.
The Foundation gave two presentations at the British Burn Association (BBA) Annual Meeting 2015 in Birmingham which took place from 20-22 May 2015. The three day event was attended by healthcare professionals from burn care services from across the UK as well as international delegates and speakers.
We were all delighted that two research projects undertaken by the Foundation were accepted by the BBA for presentation at the conference.
A burn-specific Patient Concern Inventory:
Katie Piper Foundation research analyst volunteer Beth Hughes, a burn survivor and beneficiary of the Foundation, was the lead researcher on a KPF project to establish a burns-specific ‘Patient Concern Inventory’ (PCI). A Patient Concern Inventory is a relatively new concept that facilitates patients to raise important issues with their healthcare team using a checklist of well-researched prompts. This engages the patient in self-assessment, and guides and targets a consultation, bringing to light issues that could be overlooked.
The original PCI was developed for head and neck cancer outpatient clinics where, prior to consultation, patients select from a list of 55 potential concerns covering physical and functional, social care and social, psychological, emotional and spiritual domains which acts as a guide for the consultation. The PCI has been shown to produce more focused, efficient and effective consultations and direct appropriate Multi Disciplinary Team referral and resources. Due to the numerous physical, psychological and other issues faced by burn patients, the introduction of a PCI-burns tool could be of great potential benefit.
With Phase 1 of our research complete, Beth’s presentation was an opportunity to recruit support from burn care teams for the next phases of the project (including trialling in a clinical setting). There was an extremely positive response to the concept and a large number of burn care services immediately expressed an interest in assisting with the final phases of the project. We believe this powerful but simple tool could become a standard part of burn care.
Evaluation of Hair Replacement Systems:
Our Charity Services Manager, Ezinna Rospigliosi, presented an evaluation of the benefits of hair replacement systems (HRS) compared to other non-surgical solutions to permanent scalp hair-loss due to burn injuries. This was a project initiated and led by a KPF beneficiary and volunteer.
Hair loss due to destroyed scalp hair follicles can have a devastating impact on a person’s psychosocial wellbeing and self-image and has been highlighted to the Foundation by patients as a significant area of concern. After investigation of non-surgical options, the Foundation developed criteria to fund custom-made HRS for burn survivors. These systems require the use of technologies including breathable membranes, specialist fitting and on-going maintenance.
As wigs are the most common non-surgical option available in the NHS, the Foundation’s evaluation focused on comparing HRS and wigs. In conclusion, HRSs appear to have a positive impact on wellbeing compared to other non-surgical hair loss solutions and our aim is that HRSs will become an option that is available via the NHS.