SUNBURNS are the norm for those suffering from second degree burns and the agony of the aftermath is rarely pleasant.
But the first degree burns are often excruciating and life-changing, so the Irish government is investing millions in training and equipment to try to prevent them.
In addition to a new $20 million programme, it is encouraging more people to go for a second degree burn assessment, which will also involve the medical staff and the medical professionals.
The assessment is a quick test to check whether the burn has progressed enough to require hospital treatment.
The burns are typically treated with corticosteroids, which are expensive, but can help with a number of minor injuries.
There are also treatments that have already been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), including the skin grafts and laser therapy.
The Government has also launched a National Awareness campaign, which aims to encourage people to seek advice and support if they have experienced second degree or severe sunburn.
The burn assessment is available to people at any time and can be done by doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and other trained professionals.
The aim is to make sure people are not in pain and that they are aware of their options for a quick, safe and quick treatment, said Dr Helen O’Connell, head of burn assessment at the Royal Dublin Hospital.
“We need to make it as easy as possible for people to get the treatment they need,” she said.
“But if it’s not safe or effective, we have to be able to assess whether there is a risk to the patient and, if so, what action we need to take.”
The National Burn Assessment Network (NBAN) is a national network of doctors and health professionals working together to make burn assessments as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
It aims to increase the number of burn assessments done by the RNIB every year by 10 per cent and has already trained about 2,000 people.
The Network has also developed the first online burn assessment training course, which is now available for people aged over 25.
The course is designed to help people who have experienced a burn to get a clearer picture of what is happening.
A person with second degree (B) sunburn may require further assessment, such as a laser treatment, but the training will also help with physical rehabilitation.
“People who have had a burn will want to see how they can manage the pain, whether they have pain relief medication, pain relief patches or a skin graft,” said Dr O’Connor.
If a person needs to seek immediate medical treatment, they should go to their GP for advice.
More than 20 per cent of people who need medical care after a burn are older adults.
This is particularly true if the burn is severe, or if there is an ongoing problem.
The first degree burn can be difficult to manage.
Some people have to have a second surgery to treat their burn, and some can have their skin graft removed.
People who burn more than once in a year should seek help and support from their GP or a physiotherapist.
A second degree burning can cause significant pain, nausea and vomiting, which can be life-threatening.