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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Burns first aid

This page has links to information in other languages.



If the person is seriously injured or not responding, call 111 for an ambulance.

Stop the burning and make things safe.

Cool the burn for 20 minutes

This stops the burn doing more damage, and helps the pain. Do this immediately if possible (after making sure the area is safe and calling for help if needed). You can start this up to three hours after the injury.

Cover the burn

This helps to prevent infection and decrease pain.

Getting help

Call an ambulance on 111 if you are worried about a more severe injury, especially with electrical injuries, large burns or when the person has inhaled smoke.

Take a person to a doctor when:

As well as seeing a doctor straight away, people with these burns also need to go back two days later so the doctor can see what is happening with the burn.

First aid information in other languages

You can find burns first aid information in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Sudanese Arabic and Vietnamese on this page.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Preventing burns

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Plastic Surgery Department, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed May 2021.


Page reference: 101208

Review key: HIBUR-30143