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Electrical Burn in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Electrical burns are injuries that are caused by an electric current. The electric current can pass through your child's body and damage tissues or organs. An electric current may also jump from an electrical source to his body and burn his skin.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
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This is also called a nasogastric tube. An NG tube is put down your child's nose and into his stomach. An NG tube keeps air and fluid out of the stomach during surgery. It is usually taken out shortly after surgery.
- Ointments: These medicines prevent infection and help your child's burn heal. The ointment may be placed on your child's skin, or it may be part of his bandage.
- Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell healthcare providers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.
- Tetanus shot: This is medicine to keep your child from getting tetanus (lock jaw). Your child should have a tetanus shot if he has not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your child's arm can get red, swollen, and sore after getting this shot. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about protection against tetanus.
- CVP line: A CVP line is also called a central line. It is an IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large blood vessel near your child's neck, groin, or near his collarbone. The CVP line may be used to give medicines, draw blood, or to check your child's heart.
- Intake and output may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid your child is getting. They also may need to know how much your child is urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your child's urine.
- Neurologic signs: These are also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. During a neuro check, healthcare providers see how your child's pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested. How your child responds to the neuro checks can tell healthcare providers if his illness or injury has affected his brain.
- Pulse oximeter: A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your child's blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your child's foot, toe, hand, finger, or earlobe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your child's oxygen level is low or cannot be read.
Your child may be given dye before some of the following tests to help the pictures show up better. Tell healthcare providers if your child is allergic to iodine or seafood. He may also be allergic to the dye.
- Blood and urine tests: Your child may need blood or urine tests to check for damage to his muscles, heart, and other organs.
- ECG: This is also called an EKG. An ECG is done to check for damage or problems in your child's heart. A short period of electrical activity in his heart is recorded.
- CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray uses a computer to take pictures of your child's brain. The healthcare provider may do this test to check for signs of brain injury after your child has had electrical burns.
- MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your child's head or other body parts. An MRI may be used to look at your child's brain, muscles, joints, bones, or blood vessels. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with any metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell healthcare providers if your child has any metal in or on his body.
- Scintigraphy: Scintigraphy may help your child's healthcare provider find dead tissue in your child's body and decide how much should be removed.
- Neurologic signs: Healthcare providers test how your child's pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested. The way in which your child responds to this test can tell healthcare providers if his injury has affected his brain.
- Fluid: Your child may need more fluid in his body. His healthcare provider may give him fluids through an IV. He may also give your child extra nutrition through the IV.
- Surgery: Your child may need more than one surgery.
- Debridement: Healthcare providers remove damaged tissue from your child's body to prevent infection, decrease inflammation, and improve healing.
- Skin grafts and flaps: Healthcare providers cover or replace lost skin with healthy skin. A graft can help close your child's wounds, prevent infection, and decrease scarring. Skin flap surgery is done to fix large wounds that cannot be closed by skin grafting. A skin flap is skin and tissue that is stretched to cover the wound area. Skin flaps may improve the appearance of your child's skin.
- Escharotomy: Healthcare providers make an incision through the dead tissue into the fat layer below. This surgery helps relieve pressure caused by swelling and improves blood flow.
- Fasciotomy: Healthcare providers release pressure caused by swollen muscles from the burn and prevent more damage to your child's nerves, organs, or tissues.
- Pressure garments: Pressure garments help keep thick scars from forming. Your child may need to wear these for most of the day. Pressure garments are custom made to fit your child. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about pressure garments.
- Wound care: Your child's burns will be bandaged to keep the area moist and clean. A special medicine may be put on your child's burn. Your child's healthcare provider may then cover your child's burn with a bandage. Your child's dressings will be changed at least twice a day. During dressing changes, your child's burn may be cleaned with soap and water.
- Physical therapy: Your child's muscles and joints may not work well after an electrical burn. He may need to see a physical therapist to teach him exercises that will improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your child's risk for loss of function. Your child may need to wear splints or casts to help prevent his muscles from shrinking. This may help prevent his joints and bones from becoming deformed.
- Massage therapy: A massage therapist may help your child feel less pain. Massage therapy may also help prevent thick scars from forming.
- Speech therapy: A speech therapist may work with your child to help him talk if he has had an electrical burn in his mouth.
Bandages changes may be painful. Surgery to remove dead tissue may cause infection and put your child at risk of bleeding. Your child's scars may itch or become thick and raised. If your child had a skin graft, the wound may not heal completely or it may become infected. Without treatment, your child's burned skin may become infected and he may have increased pain.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.
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