Burn Injuries – Know What to do This July 4th

 Burn Injuries - Know what to do this Fourth of July

Burn Injuries – Know what to do This July 4th

In my last post, I shared important tips for staying safe on the Fourth of July. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of injury during your holiday celebrations. If you missed that post, you can read it HERE. Each year, burn injuries account for 44% of the injuries caused by fireworks. Even if you follow all of the safety tips, accidents can still happen, so it is important to learn how to identify and treat burns.

Types of Burns

Classified as first, second, and third degree, appropriate burn treatment will vary depending on the severity and size of the injury.

first degree burn


A first-degree burn is the least severe. Specifically, it occurs when the outer layer of is damaged from touching or picking up a hot object. The skin becomes red at first, and then it eventually dries and peels. Pain from a first-degree burn typically lasts 48-72 hours before subsiding. Another common example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn.


second degree burn


Second-degree burns happen in the same way as a first-degree burn, but they are more severe. With a second-degree burn, damage occurs to the outer layer of skin, as well as parts of the inner layer of skin. Signs of a second-degree burn include blistering, white blotchy patches on the skin, possibly a deep red color, and the area may look wet and shiny. In addition, there could be swelling, and the area will be painful to the touch.

third degree burn


Third-degree burns are the most serious and require urgent medical attention. As with second-degree burns, third-degree burns damage both the inner and outer layers of the skin. Visually, the area may look dry and leathery, or the skin may appear charred, black, yellow, white or brown. Interestingly, a third-degree burn is not always painful at the time of injury. This is because of damage to the nerve endings in the area.


Treat minor burns by cooling the area under running water, or applying a cold, wet compress to the area. If possible, remove anything from the injured area that could restrict circulation such as rings, watches, belts, or tight clothing.  Apply a lotion such as aloe vera gel or other skin moisturizer. This will provide some pain relief and help reduce drying and peeling. Cover the area with a sterile bandage and wrap the area loosely with a clean bandage.

If blisters are present, do not pop them. Popping blisters creates an opening in the skin that can become a source of infection. If a blister does pop, gently clean the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, and cover with a bandage to keep it clean. Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease the pain and swelling. Always follow the directions on the bottle for appropriate dosing.


burn first aidIf you can see that the level of damage is deep, covers an area greater than 3 inches, or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, than you need to call 911 and seek immediate medical care. All third-degree burns as well as some second-degree burns, require immediate medical attention.

While waiting for emergency care to arrive, take steps to protect yourself, the patient, and others from further injury. First, ensure the injured person is in a safe area. Next, check the ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. If there is no pulse and the individual is not breathing, send someone to call 911, start CPR and continue until medical help arrives.

AIRWAY – If the person is unconscious, open the airway by putting one hand on the forehead and the other on the patients chin, then tilt the head back while lifting up the chin.

BREATHING – Look to see if the chest is rising and falling with each breath.

CIRCULATION – Check for a pulse on the neck or wrist.

Once you have confirmed that the injured person is conscious and breathing, make sure to remove any items that restrict the injured area such as jewelry or belts. Cover the burned area with a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth, but do not immerse large burns in water. Elevate the injured area, keep the patient warm, and watch for signs of shock until help arrives.

Finally, when planning your Independence Day celebration, it is a good idea to have a small, well-stocked first aid kit available, and make sure at least one person in your household is CPR trained. If you are not comfortable providing care, or you are not sure what the right course of action is, call 911 or go to your local urgent care or emergency room.

Be safe and have fun this Fourth of July!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.



6 Tips for a Safe and Fun Fourth of July

From backyard barbecues to spectacular fireworks shows, the 4th of July is the highlight of summer. However, if you don’t take safety precautions, injury and property damage can spoil the fun of the holiday. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that emergency rooms treated 9,100 injuries from fireworks in 2018. Sadly, kids under the age of 15 sustained 36% of those injuries, most of which were preventable. It is easy to keep your friends and family injury-free and still have a great celebration. Just follow these 6 tips for a safe and fun Fourth of July.

  1. Do not let children play with fireworks. In addition, make sure that there is always an adult supervising any fireworks activity.
  2. Keep a bucket of water or a working hose nearby to douse fireworks if necessary.
  3. Keep spectators, especially children, at a safe distance at all times while lighting fireworks.
  4. Never point a firework at a person, car, house, or other object. Keep the area directly surrounding the firework is clear of any debris that can catch fire or interfere with your ability to retreat.
  5. Do not attempt to re-light a firework that does not start.
  6. Douse used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water or with a hose before discarding them in the trash.

We hope that these 6 tips help you enjoy your Fourth of July and stay safe!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.



Back to Fitness after Shutdown

back to fitness after shutdown COVID-19 disrupted all of our planned activities this spring, including school and organized sports. We all did our part to Stay Home and Save Lives, and many of us have lost some fitness along the way. However, as we move through the phases of reopening, it’s time to get back to fitness as our lives slowly start returning to normal.

If the lack of organized activities, sports, gyms, and weight rooms have left you a bit out of shape, it’s important to ease back into activity slowly to prevent injury. You can’t expect to return to the same level and intensity of exercise you were doing before the shutdown. If you try it, your return may be short lived, and you could soon find yourself injured and back on the couch.

Here are a few recommendations for avoiding injury and back to fitness. With a little patience, you can return to your previous levels of activity in time for the fall sports season.

Start Slowly

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends that athletes returning to activity begin at about 50% of their pre-shut down volume and intensity. For example, if you were running six days per week, start again with three days If you could do drills for an hour, start with half an hour. In addition, you should spread your activities out evenly throughout the week.

Progress Slowly

When increasing your activity, whether its miles, time, or intensity, the general recommendation is no more than a 10% increase each week. That means, if you did 30 minutes of activity for three days this week for a total of 90 minutes, you could add roughly 10 minutes to your activity next week. Although this sounds like a tiny increase, it does add up over time, and will help you avoid injury.

Practice Self-Care

foam rollingMake time each day to take care of your body. Whether it’s gentle yoga, light stretching, or a dynamic warm up, maintaining and restoring your range of motion is key to not only preventing injury, but also recovering from injury. Likewise, a little self-massage can bring big benefits. Consider combining both stretching and massage together in your routine. For example, you could use a foam roller or lacrosse ball to work out any tight spots in your muscles, and follow it up with a dynamic warm up or light stretching.

Prioritize Sleep

Getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night is important for muscle growth, healing, and recovery. Look at this Sleep Infographic published by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) to learn all about the amazing benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Proper Nutrition

High quality food and proper nutrition provide your body with what it needs to be able to get back to fitness and recover from activity. Look at this previous blog from Bend High Athletic Trainer, Tessa Cashman, for more information about the role of nutrition and injury recovery.

Back to Fitness and Beyond

Finally, it is important to be patient and listen to your body. This is not the time to try to push through an injury or increase your activity just because the program you are following tells you too. Don’t expect to be able to lift the same amount of weight or run at the same speed as you could before. However, if you are patient and follow the recommendations above, you will find that you can get back to fitness. You might even find that, eventually, you are stronger, faster and fitter – all while staying healthy and resistant to injury.

fit girl jumps for joy

If you are not sure how to get started, contact your local high school athletic trainer for help designing a program specific to your needs. You can find contact information for all of our Central Oregon high school athletic trainers HERE.

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.

7 Tips for Summer Exercise

Summer is just around the corner and the mercury is going to start rising. Do you know how to stay safe while exercising in the summer heat? Follow these 7 tips for summer exercise to stay cool and get the most out of your hot weather workout.

7 tips for exercise in hot weather exhausted runner

1. Timing

Avoid the heat of the day by exercising in the mornings and evenings. Try to avoid exercising in the hottest part of the day.

2. Go Slow

If you must exercise in the heat of the day, get yourself used to the heat slowly.  This can be done by gradually exposing yourself to the heat by starting with a very short workout, and increasing the amount of time you exercise over several days.

3. Hydrate

Drinking fluids is key! Performance declines with as little as 2-3% decrease in body weight from sweat loss.  In general, you should drink approximately 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. In addition, know how to check your hydration status by looking at the color of your urine. Aim for light yellow or straw colored urine. Dark yellow or brown urine means that you are significantly dehydrated and need to drink more.

4. Clothing

Wear loose synthetic clothing that breathes and wicks moisture. Also, pick light colors over dark colors to help reflect the sun’s heat away from you.

5. Protection

You can keep your body cooler by keeping the sun off your skin. Wear a hat and lightweight long sleeve shirt, and always remember your sunscreen! As you sweat, remember to reapply sunscreen, too.

6. Know the Signs

The signs of heat illness include cramping, confusion, unsteadiness, irritability, vomiting, unusual fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbances. Stop exercising and find a cool place to rest if you feel unwell.

7. First Aid

When heat illness strikes, know how to beat it. Immersion in cold water is the best way to treat it quickly. However, if you don’t have access to a tub full of ice water, that’s okay. You can still help by rolling up towels and dunking them in ice water. Wring out the excess water and place the towels over the head, neck, and body to bring the body temperature down.

Staying safe while recreating in the summer heat is easy if you remember these 7 tips. Please share with your friends and teammates, and let us how you stay cool while exercising in the heat this summer!

Written by: Alex Walker, ATC, athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Sisters High School in Sisters, OR. Learn more about Alex HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.


https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html accessed 5/29/2020