Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Iron: 1 Emily: 0 A Minor Medical Post

**I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training at all. Please use common sense, and do not hesitate to seek medical treatment.**

I have long hated ironing. It always felt like...well, such a chore. My solution? Quite simple: avoid. I don't iron.

Never took an iron to college. Didn't register for one for my wedding. May have inherited an abandoned one from a roommate, but that quickly got shoved to the back of a closet, and eventually made it either to the dumpster (for shame, Emily!) or Goodwill (that's more like it).

To keep from sending either myself or my husband out of the house looking like a wrinkled mess, I was simply vigilant about removing clothes from the dryer promptly (a good thing to do when working with laundromats), and carefully shaking out/folding any should-be-ironed clothes. The seams of pant legs got quickly matched up, and smoothly folded, while button-down shirts were pulled from the pile before the crush of t-shirts and jeans could cause permanent wrinkles. After carefully hanging these clothes, I simply let gravity, and the weight of the rest of the closet take care of the rest.

For our clothes, this has been working well enough. But, it won't do for quilting.

As you may know, I've recently started my first full quilt. This requires a lot of measuring, cutting and piecing together of fabric, and in order to do this correctly, so that everything will match up in the end, the cloth needs to be washed, dried, and ironed before a single measure is taken or line drawn.

I needed an iron. *sigh... I tried to avoid this, but broke down, and got one. Also got a small, table-top ironing board, that is perfect for craft-ironing, but not for "real" ironing. I found this out the hard way.

In an attempt to iron my first shirt in years (promise that I know how to do it), I managed to maneuver the iron and myself so that I grazed the iron with my hand. There was a small flash of pain, just enough for me to realize what was happening, but not much. So, because of the apparent lack of searing, lingering pain or any visible damage, I simply continued on. Probably should not have done that.

I did wash my hands, and try jojoba oil on the burn, followed by my normal oatmeal-lotion. I used jojoba oil because that is what I had, but should have used vitamin E oil. I use an oatmeal-based lotion, like Aveeno, because I inherited dry skin from my mom.

So, here's the burn. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is probably a second degree burn, because of the lone, solitary blister. Also according to them, I should have immediately cooled the burn by running it under or immersing it in cool water, instead of continuing to iron. Next, I should have covered it with a sterile, lint-free bandage, such as gauze, instead of leaving it completely exposed. The Mayo Clinic site also lists some things not to do, like use butter. 

The Mayo Clinic did not specifically say to put on any creams or antibiotic ointments, but they do make burn ointment for a reason. A previously listed link includes vitamin E oil as an option for soothing minor burns and helping skin heal.

So, why vitamin E oil over a burn ointment? Well, because vitamin E oil is multi-purpose. It can be used as a body and face moisturizer alone, or even in conjunction with other lotions. It can be used to help reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles. It can even be used in hair-care products. Since vitamin E oil has many purposes, using it means that you can reduce the number of other products you buy. 

It should be noted that the burn I sustained was minor. It was no more than an inch long, and scarcely a quarter of an inch wide. Regardless of the severity, my attitude toward the burn was really quite negligent, and I do stress that if you burn yourself, you should take it seriously, and determine that it is indeed a minor burn before you attempt to care for it yourself. It may be less expensive to slather on vitamin E oil or burn ointment, but in the long run, if the burn is serious, you will save yourself money, pain, and possibly more if you seek immediate medical attention.

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