Airbags can cause a variety of burn injuries such as caused by friction, heat and chemicals. Understandably, there are different treatments for every type of burn, thus it is vital that you are familiar on the kind of burn sustained by an individual from a deployed airbag.
Treating chemical burns caused by airbags
Start initially with basic first aid measures. Contaminated clothing must be removed and wash the affected area in order to remove the chemical substance.
When flushing the affected area, you have to use a lot of water for at least 20 minutes. If the chemical burn entered the eyes, the ideal way to flush the eyes is to get him/her into a shower.
Remove any solid material around the affected area. Just be careful not to push solid materials on the unaffected skin since these are responsible for causing the burn in the first place.
In case the burn looks severe, seek medical care. The medical treatment includes administration of IV fluids to normalize the heart rate and blood pressure. Other treatment options include flushing the area with water as well as the application of an antidote.
Treating thermal burns caused by airbags
- Put a stop to the burning process by getting the airbag away from the individual if he/she cannot leave the vehicle.
- Cool the burn using water but do not use ice. If possible, you have to cool the affected area with water within 30 seconds to prevent worsening the severity of the burn.
- You have the control the pain by using a cool, wet compress for pain relief. Avoid using ice since it will further worsen the injury on the skin. Provide over-the-counter medications for pain such as acetaminophen or aspirin.
- Apply an antibiotic cream that is specifically used for burns in order to fight off infection.
Treating friction burns caused by airbags
Take note that once the airbag rubs on the skin, it can result to a friction burn. In most cases, friction burns can cause blisters but do not require medical care. Over time, new skin develops beneath the blister and the fluid is eventually absorbed. Obviously, the blister will keep the skin clean while at the same time preventing infection and promoting the healing process.
If possible, do not pop the blisters. In case it is required to pop them open, you have to use a sterile razor blade or pin. All you have to do is to heat the tip until it is red-hot or simply dip in alcohol. Always bear in mind not to remove the skin from blisters since it protects the wound until the new skin grows.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Most cases of chemical burns do not require hospitalization. Individuals can go home after follow-up care with a doctor. In severe cases, it would require medical care. It is important to call for emergency assistance for severe cases that involves chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and other symptoms.