Burns are typically a type of tissue injury. Although they are often minor, they can also be very severe depending upon the severity, or degree, of the burn.
Most Burns Are Minor In Nature
Every year in the United States, on average, 450,000 individuals sustain burn injuries and receive medical treatment for these injuries. Roughly 3,400 of those will die from their burn injuries.. Many of those individuals are hospitalized at a medical facility that is equipped with specialized burn centers that are solely dedicated to treating severe burns and assisting with the recovery process.
Since the severity of burns can vary significantly, there are three classifications for burn injuries – first degree, second degree, and third degree burns. A first-degree burn is a burn with the least damage, while a third-degree burn affects deeper tissues and in some cases can be fatal. Typically a second-degree burn is not fatal. However, if large parts of the body are covered by the burns they can be very dangerous.
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First Degree Burns
The least serious kind of burn is the first-degree burn. The skin’s outer layer is burned but it isn’t deep enough so that the second layer is is affected. Often this degree of burn will cause the skin to turn red, and there will be some swelling in the area of the injury along with pain or discomfort at the site of the burn. Sunburns commonly cause first degree burns. The burns:
- Involve just the epidermis, which is the skin’s outermost layer
- Are painful
- Do not form any blisters
- Heal on their own and do not scar
This type of burn is the least serious and usually does not require the person to be hospitalized. Usually only home treatments are needed. The main goal when treating this type of burn is to make the victim feel physically bettter. The injuries heal on their own in a couple of days up to a week. Using a skin cream can help to expedite the healing process. More damage might be caused by some of these burns and might require specialized treatment and hospitalization.
Second Degree Burns
This type of burn results when the skin’s first layer is burned through into the second layer so that it too is damaged or burned. Blisters develop around and at the burn site. The skin can have an intensely splotchy and reddened appearance. A second-degree burn may produce intense pain and severe swelling.
Second degree burns are classified into two types, including deep partial thickness burns and partial thicknesss burns. A second-degree burn:
- Involves the dermis and epidermis
- Forms blisters
- Has a moist appearance
- Are painful, given that the pain sensors are intact still
These kinds of burns are the hardest to diagnose given that they might be just slightly worse compared to a first-degree burn, or it might deeply affect the skin similar to a third-degree burn.
Third Degree Burns
This is the most extreme type of burn that an individual can suffer. All layers of skin are involved. Extensive destruction of the underlying structures as well as the skin are caused by a third-degree burn which results in tissue being permanently damaged. Muscle, fat, and even bone might be affected. Parts of the body might appear white and dry, be black, or charred. Carbon monoxide poisoning, difficulty exhaling and inhaling, and other types of toxic effects might occur if the burn is accompanied by smoke inhalation.
These burns frequently need significant treatment for both cosmetic improvements when possible and for healing wounds. A third-degree burn:
- Involves all layers of skin
- Vary in color, and can be brown, red, waxy, or white
- Lack elasticity and are dry
- Do not heal
- The victim often does not feel pain because the burn has destroyed the pain sensors
This type of burn might also damage internal organs as well as other structures of the body. Following a fire or explosion, victims frequently experience severe third degree burns. They require extensive treatment and prolonged healing times. Frequently skin grafts are utilized where skin is removed by the doctor from one area of the victim’s body and then placed on top of the area that has been injured to help with the healing process. Additional cosmetic procedures might be necessary during or after the healing process in an attempt to reduce the severity or appearance of scars.
If you have experienced a burn injury and you can safely come to ER Specialists, we would love to help you. If you are alone or have any doubt about getting to our facility safely, or, believe you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 911.