At 9:30am on Sunday 14 August in Oadby, Monica Joshi was using almost-boiling water for steam inhalation as a treatment for her sinuses. The towel she was using knocked the container into her lap. The first thing she did was scream. Her daughters were upstairs, and immediately ran down to find out what had happened. Sarina, aged 12, was first to help as Monica’s mind went blank over what to do due to her pain.
Sarina ran down stairs and her first aid knowledge was extremely useful. She ordered her Mum into a cold shower for 10 minutes, timing it. Monica said if it wasn’t for Sarina keeping an eye on the time she wouldn’t have realized how long to stay in for as 10 minutes felt extremely long due to her pain. Sarina then took her to the bedroom and wrapped cling film around her Mum’s left thigh to prevent any clothes sticking to the burn. She also knew to keep her warm following the cold shower and grabbed a dressing gown for Mum.
Sarina said: “When my mum had her accident, I initially panicked but I knew I had to make myself calm. I remembered from First Aid Training with the Nurse, Abby Cox, at Leicester High School for Girls, that if you don’t act quickly, things can be a lot worse. I also felt I had to be there for my little sister, Shreya, because I am the oldest and she was a bit worried. I kept thinking about a line from the book I was reading at the time “someone has to keep their head” (the book is ‘Moon Pie’ by Simon Mason). I am glad I got some life experiences from this that I can use. Now I understand how easily things like this can happen and how careful you have to be around hot water.”
They called NHS 111, an ambulance arrived and they were taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary for treatment. Monica is so proud of her daughters: “As well as helping me, Sarina kept her sister, aged 10, occupied giving her jobs such as finding my glasses and checking whether the ambulance had arrived. They were so calm and remembered exactly what to do.”
Emma Readman of Leicester’s Hospital told us “Prevention and good first aid are key to reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring each year, especially in children. Over 330 people are seen in Emergency Departments with a Burn every day in England and Wales. 110 of these are children. The vast majority of all injuries are preventable.
October, November is a really key time of year to talk about Burn Awareness. We have Diwali, Halloween and Bonfire Night all in quick succession and there is an increased risk of burns due to things like candles, fireworks, sparklers. We want to identify ‘hot’ topics for families such as avoiding poor-quality flammable costumes, avoiding button batteries, which can be fatal and the dangers of washing tablets which can cause chemical burns if consumed. We want families to be mindful of open flames such as candles, sparklers, bonfires which we see at this time of year.