For those who are regularly using a barbeque grill, propane is already a familiar term. On the other, for those who are just about to use one, it is important to be familiar on what propane is all about and safety precautions. Propane is basically a heavy flammable gaseous alkaline present in natural gas and crude petroleum. It has various uses such as in clothes dryers, patio heaters, water heaters, furnaces, gas grills and fireplaces. Liquid propane can cause cold burns that leads to serious skin damage as it vaporizes instantly, resulting to severe frostbite. There are first aid measures that you can perform in order to ease the pain of a propane burn while waiting for the medical team to arrive.
First aid care for propane burns
It is important to take into consideration that following steps when an individual sustains a propane burn. Delaying these measures will only cause further damage to the affected area.
- Transfer the individual to a warm area right away so that the affected area will slowly warm up. Avoid applying direct sources of heat such as fireplace or heating pad to the area since it can cause further injury to the tissues.
- Gently drape or cover the affected area using a clean sheet or you can use any type of dressing that is available.
- Using a small basin or tub, fill it with lukewarm water that is neither cold nor hot. Soak the affected area in the water to relieve the pain.
- Encourage the individual to slowly exercise the affected area. Provide the individual with warm, non-alcoholic drinks and keep him/her away from excess cold or heat such as exposure to snow, cold water and heating lamps.
For severe cases of propane burns, it is best to call for emergency assistance. Due to the severity of the damage, it would require a skin graft. Always remember not to use ice when treating the burn since it prolongs the pain, slows down the healing process and causes further damage to the skin tissues.
How to detect propane leaks
A clear method to distinguish a propane gas leak is by smell. It is important to be acquainted with the odor of propane. A possible leak can occur once the smell of the gas last longer than an instant after lighting a stove burner. If there is a foul odor that persists that you cannot identify or there is a hissing sound near piping, gas appliance or storage cylinders and tanks, these can also indicate a leak. Aside from the burn caused by exposure to the liquid form of propane, propane gas exposure can cause physical or even mental symptoms due to the carbon monoxide levels that are increasing. The symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, headaches and tightness across the temple, watery eyes and loss of muscular control.