Soldering irons are used in a range of applications and industries including appliance repair, computer hardware manufacturing, and general electronic work. They use the principle of heat to convert materials from a solid to a liquid state binding with other metallic components to create a firm and secure connection.
However, the high operating temperature poses a hazard to users. Incorrect handling of the equipment can cause minor and sometimes major burns.
Some soldering irons can quickly reach temperatures as high as 400 degrees Celsius, which feels extremely hot on the skin. The text highlights ways to treat burns caused by soldering irons and precautions you should take to avoid them in the future.
Treating the Burn
Most burns from soldering irons are minor; hence, the treatment should be simple. You need to:
Cool the burn
Run cool water over the burnt area for 5-15 minutes. Avoid applying ice on the burn as it could freeze the tissue. Be sure to remove rings and other jewelry on the area before it begins swelling
Avoid breaking the blisters
The fluid-filled blister protects the body against infections. However, if the blister breaks clean area using water and mild soap and apply an antibiotic ointment. You should avoid using the cream in case of an allergic reaction, (a rash, or swelling)
Compress the area using a wet cloth
You can place a cool compress or a damp cloth on the burnt area to relieve pain and swelling. Apply the compress for 15 minutes in five-minute intervals. Avoid using excessively cold compresses as they could irritate the burn
Apply an antibiotic ointment
Once the burn cools, apply a lotion or cream to provide relief and prevent drying. You can also use an antibiotic cream to prevent infection. Other effective creams include the aloe vera cream touted as the burn plant. Studies show it is effective in healing first and second-degree burns.
It has anti-inflammatory properties, inhibits bacteria growth, and promotes circulation. As such, you can apply a layer of pure aloe vera gel on the affected area. If buying the aloe vera cream from the store, ensure it has a high percentage of the main product and few additives, perfumes, and coloring agents.
Alternatively, apply honey on the affected area. It is also another effective remedy for minor burns, and it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cover area with a Bandage
Cover the burn using a sterile gauze bandage. Avoid using cotton as it can stick to the skin. The dressing should be wrapped loosely to avoid exerting additional pressure on the affected area.
Bandaging reduces pain, keeps air off the area, and protects the skin. Additionally, it prevents exposing the burnt area to direct sunlight as it is susceptible to direct sunlight.
Take an Over-the-counter Pain Reliever
If you are feeling pain, an OTC pain reliever like naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen should come in handy. Also, consider seeking medical attention if the burn breaks the skin
Safety Tip for Using Soldering Irons
Use Clamps to Hold Wires
Use tweezers and clamps to hold wires, not hands. Wires are excellent heat conductors hence likely to cause burns. Sometimes the wires may not feel hot, but the intense heat on the soldering iron can quickly raise the temperature increasing the risk of getting burned.
- Avoid touching the tip of the soldering iron
- Avoid touching the metallic parts of the iron. Alternatively, use irons with a heatproof flex for additional protection
- Place the iron in a stand when not in use
- Allow the joints to cool for one or two minutes before touching them
- Tin the bit tip regularly. When the tip is in constant contact with flux-cored solder, it is in good condition. However, when the iron is standing and still turned on, the bit tip gets depleted fast due to the heat. It oxidizes and becomes unstable. Thus, if you are not soldering for a long time tin the tip after a few minutes
- Turn off the iron when not in use: It reduces safety risks and prevents the tip from becoming unstable. If you are not using the tip in the next ten minutes turn it off
- Avoid placing the iron in hot or cold liquid