Burns are caused by dry heat, or by something else than water; scalds by boiling water, steam, or other hot fluids. The danger to life of either is in proportion to their extent of surface, and their depth. Even a superficial burn or scald will kill, if it involve so much as half, some authorities say two-fifths of the body. Death is then produced in two ways; by the shock, and by the arrest of the necessary functional action of the skin. The treatment of burns and scalds is essentially the same for both.

What to do when one's clothes have caught fire, is important. Seize a shawl, rug, mat, coat, or overcoat, if any be within reach, and wrap it closely around the burning part. Or, if not, lie down and roll on the carpet; at the same time crushing the burning garment with the hands. If one sees another person on fire, the same thing out to be done. A man's overcoat, or a rug, etc., may be thrown closely about the victim of the flames, who should be quickly laid down on the floor, so as to be covered more readily and entirely. The reason for this is, that the way to extinguish any fire, large or small, is, to shut out the air from it.

When a person is badly burned, the shock to the nervous system is followed by prostration or collapse. There is great weakness, pallor of face, flickering pulse, short breathing, and coldness or the body. For this condition, opium, in. the form of laudanum (fifteen drops at once, repeated if necessary in an hour, until three or four doses have been taken) is a good stimulus. Small quantities of whiskey or brandy also, one or two teaspoonfuls at a time, may be given, at half-hour intervals, for a while; to be withheld at once when signs of reaction come. Such signs are, strengthening of the pulse, warming of the skin, and return of color to the face.