How can I help a burn survivor rebuild their life?
Trying to understand what has happend both emotionally and physically to the individual that has been burned should help you to take part in their recovery. Even though the burn survivor will usually look different on the outside, he or she is essentially the same person on the inside. There are emotional changes that came with the burn injury that may remain for life.
A burn survivor knows that many parts of their life will change forever. He/she does not want to loose his/her friends due to the injury. You and others may want to try to imagine what you would feel like in his situation. You might also want to speak with other burn survivors and family members. Speaking with a BSTTW Support Team Representative or taking part in our weekly chats might help. Go to BSTTW Support Team E-Form, BSTTW Chat List or BSTTW Address & Telephone Information.
Can a burn survior participate in all activities?
When a burn survivor is first released from the burn unit or hospital, he/she will not be albe to participate in all activities. His/her body and skin is still fragile or tight. You should speak with the doctor in charge and rehabilitation specialists in order to get the full details.
When can I go into the sun again?
A burn survivor must be more careful of the sun then the average person. Healed burn scars, pink colored skin is easily injured by the sun. Even tiny amounts of sunlight will cause the skin to tan a very dark brown color which lasts for years. SPF 50 sun screen will NOT prevent this color change.
When the pink color fades, sun exposure is safer. As long as you use a sun block of at least SPF 15, barrier protections, clothing and hats are used in order to prevent sunburn.
BSTTW suggests that you speak to your doctor about when it would be safe for you to be in the sun.
When can I go back to work?
Returning to work indicates a good adjustment following a burn injury, but each patient and each case is evaluated individually. Return to work may need to be gradual. The days and hours you work at the beginning might be limited until you are ready to return to full time. Are you emotionally prepared to return to limited or full time work?
Returning to work depends on several important areas:
1. Has the doctor stated you can return to work?
2. Can you perform the work you did before you were injured?
3. Will you and your boss understand your range of limitations?
4. How many hours a day can you work when you first return?
5. Are you still on medications, including pain killers and antibiotics?
When can I go swimming?
Swimming is possible when all open areas are healed and tests for Antimicrobial Resistance - Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) are negative. Sun protection is always recommended when swimming outdoors.
To learn more about sun protection go to: Sun Exposure, Sun Safety, Sun Damage
When will I be able to drive again?
Before you begin to drive again, you must be off all narcotics and medications that can cause drowsiness, have good eyesight, your arms, hands, neck and legs must have a good range of motion.
When can I get a permanent or color my hair if my donor is from my scalp?
You must be post healing for at least 6 weeks. At that time most hair coloring products can be used. Always perform the patch test to a small area as recommended by the manufacturers of the products, before application to the entire scalp. If you have negative reachtions you should see your doctor and discontinue using that product. If you were burned in that are, it is suggested that you speak with your doctor about coloring your hair before you do so.
Permanents or straightening products should not be used until you are 3 months post healing.
How can I get eyebrows again?
If the burn injury did not damage or destroy the eyebrow hair root, the eyebrows will regrow.
There are three alternatives that are available for permanent eyebrow loss:
1. Hair plugs can be removed from the scalp and transferred to the eyebrow area.
2. Cosmetic tattoos in the shape of eyebrows can be put in that area.
3. Camouflage cosmetics has been used to draw eyebrows onto the face.
To learn more go to BSTTW Permanent Cosmetics Ariticles List
What do I tell people who stare at me or my burned child?
Sometimes an individual will stare in order to figure out what it is that looks different. Many times stares are negative and are unspoken questions.
When "staring" occurs you can ask people kindly if they have a question you could answer. You might also want to ask them that they stop staring.
Remember that it is extreamly important to have someone with whom you can freely discuss your feelings about going into public with scars. That individual might be another burn survivor or family member, a counselor, social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist. This will help you to continue your recovery and moving forward in your new life.
How do I find a counselor or a psychiatrist who specializes in burn survivor cases?
First if you were seeing a counselor or psychiatrist in the burn unit you might want to continue seeing that individual. If you have not been seeing anyone for psychological help, you should ask the burn unit if they can refer a counselor.
BSTTW has a support team that is available to meet with you and help you and your family throught the road to recovery. You can contact BSTTW by filling out the BSTTW Support E-Form or by telephone at 800-503-8058.
It may be difficult finding an counselor in your are that specializes in treating a burn survivor. You might choose a therapist who has been treating individuals who have survived other traumatic events.
Opening up to a trained professional about your feelings after a traumatic life experience is an important part of recovery and dealing with and recovering from depression and anxiety. Medications may also be recommended by your psychiatrist and/or primary care doctor.