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Background: While burns take seconds to occur, injuries incurred result in pain and undesirable long term effects that might take a lifetime to overcome. The study was carried out to determine the measures of first aid delivered by caregivers after a burn injury and sources of the information.
Methods: A cross- sectional study was carried out over a period of 3 months at two central hospitals in Harare. A questionnaire was administered to the caregivers of children within the age group of 0-60 months admitted in burns wards to elicit information on the circumstances of the burn injury and the first aid methods which were administered.
Results: Out of the 50 children who were recruited, 54.0% were females and the mean age was 29.5 months (SD= 15.5). After the burn injury 30(60.0%) of the caregivers, cooled the burn injury with cold running water whilst some caregivers also applied eggs, margarine and some traditional herbs as first aid. The other practices reported by the caregivers included use of urine and crushed cockroaches after burn injury in 40 (80.0%) whilst 20 (40.0%) reported used aloe vera gel after a burn injury. About half of the caregivers got first aid information mainly from family members and very few indicated that the information was obtained from mass media, 3 (6.0%).
Conclusions: The first aid measures used by the majority of caregivers were either incomplete or inadequate. Although some caregivers had adequate knowledge of what to do after an injury, there still was widespread use of alternatives therapies in burn management.