There are three critical characteristics of burns in a survival situation.
- They hurt like hell
- They can cause severe dehydration
- They can become infected very easily
After being burned, you should immediately remove any clothing and jewelry near the burned area that may cut off circulation after the wound swells. For all you jungle fashion freaks out there we want to clarify that by "remove any clothing" we mean cut it away and not simply pulling it off over the burned area. In the survival world, that is what we like to call "counter productive". Pulling the clothes over a damaged area may intensify both pain and chances of infection needlessly.
Next, you want to apply cool water to the burned area of the body. This will help soothe the pain a bit and minimize the tissue damage.
To dress the wound, you want to apply clean rags which have been soaked in a boiling tannic acid solution. Trust us here. We know putting acid on a burn sounds ludicrous, but this stuff is going to fight off the infection. Tannic acid may be harvested from a number of natural items including the inner back of a hardwood tree, tea leaves, or acorns. You want to boil these ingredients for about 10 minutes with the rag you are going to apply. NOTE: You want to allow your tannic acid to cool before slapping the steaming hot rag on your wound. This should be pretty common sense, but we have to throw it out there anyway.
If you have aspirin handy, this would be a good time to pop one for pain management.
To keep hydrated, you want to drink at least a quart of fresh water every 8 hours. We recommend adding about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water for a little extra oomph in the healing process.