Accidents are the most common cause of burns. Burns can be classified according to their severity. The depth and amount of skin affected by a burn determine the degree of seriousness. There can be pain associated with burns. Infection can result from an untreated burn.
What is the prevalence of burns?
The emergency department receives around half a million burn injuries each year. Burns can occur to children at a high rate. Burn injuries are treated in emergency rooms every day for more than 300 children.
Is there anyone at risk of getting burned?
It is most common for children, teenagers, and the elderly to suffer accidental burns. Burn injuries caused by cooking, such as spilling boiling water on the skin, are more common in these age groups. Also, kids and teens tend to play with lighters, matches, and fireworks and even get sunburned more frequently.
How are burns classified?
According to healthcare providers, there are different degrees of severity when it comes to burns. Skin damage will be evaluated by your provider. Degrees of burns include:
- As with most sunburns, first-degree burns are mild. Redness and pain in the top layer of skin (epidermis) usually don't cause blisters.
- The top and lower layers of the skin (dermis) are affected by second-degree burns. There may be pain, redness, swelling, and blisters.
- All three layers of the skin are affected by third-degree burns: the epidermis, the dermis, and the fat. Hair follicles and sweat glands are also destroyed by the burn. The pain that comes with third-degree burns is not felt in the burn itself but more so in the area surrounding the burn. It may appear leathery or black when burned.
Burns are caused by what?
A burn can be caused by many things. Among the most common causes of burns are fire, hot liquids, steam, and contact with hot surfaces. There are also other causes, such as exposure to:
- Cement, acids, drain cleaners, or other chemicals.
- Sun (ultraviolet or UV light).
How do burns appear?
As a result of the severity or degree of the burn, burn symptoms vary. Symptoms usually worsen within a few hours or days. The following are symptoms of burns:
- White or charred (black) skin
- Peeling skin
How are burns diagnosed?
The degree or severity of the burn will be determined by your healthcare provider. As part of this process, the percentage of the body that has been burned and the depth of the burn are estimated. The burn may be classified as follows by your provider:
- There is seldom any need for hospitalization in the case of first and second degrees that cover less than 10% of the body.
- Approximately 10% of the body is burned in second-degree burns. Hands, feet, face, or genital burns can range from mild to severe.
- Burns of the third degree covering more than 1% of one's body are classified as severe.
What is the best way to manage or treat burns?
There are different types of burn treatments depending on the severity and cause of the burn. Bandages or dressings should be applied. Treating a person's wounds depends on treating their pain: inadequate pain control can cause complications. Make sure wounds are checked regularly for signs of infection, as well as scarring and tightening of the skin over joints and muscles.
Treatments by burn type include:
Run cool water over the burn. Don’t apply ice. For sunburns, apply aloe vera gel. For thermal burns, apply antibiotic cream and cover lightly with gauze. You can also take over-the-counter pain medication.
Treatment for second- and first-degree burns is similar. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a stronger antibiotic cream that contains silver, such as silver sulfadiazine, to kill bacteria. Elevating the burned area can reduce pain and swelling.
Third-degree burns can be life-threatening and often require skin grafts. Skin grafts replace damaged tissue with healthy skin from uninjured parts of the person’s body. The area where the skin graft is taken from generally heals on its own. Suppose the person does not have enough skin available for graft at the injury time. In that case, a temporary source of graft can come from a deceased donor or a human-made (artificial) source, but these will eventually need to be replaced by the person’s own skin. Treatment also includes extra fluids (usually given intravenously, with an IV) to keep blood pressure steady and prevent shock and dehydration.
How do burns cause complications?
A third-degree burn that affects a large area of the skin is very severe and can be life-threatening if it is deep and affects the skin in large areas. It is possible for even first- and second-degree burns to become infected and cause discoloration and scarring if they become infected. Burns of first-degree burns do not leave scars.
Third-degree burn complications include:
- Arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disturbances, caused by an electrical burn.
- Disfiguring scars and contractures.
- Edema (excess fluid and swelling in tissues).
- Organ failure.
- Seriously low blood pressure (hypotension) that may lead to shock.
- Severe infection that may lead to amputation or sepsis.
Accidents can result in burns. The highest risk is posed to children and the elderly. Infections and scarring can occur after deep burns are not treated. It is possible to die from third-degree burns. The pain of first- and second-degree burns, however, is greater. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one has blistering burns. If you and your family are at risk for accidental burns, discuss how to reduce that risk with your healthcare provider.From the Web