Burns: The Basics
Burns are one of the most common injuries, but also one that can be extremely painful, irritating, and depending on the size and severity, it can also be extremely dangerous. They can be caused by exposure to heat, electricity, or chemicals. While most burns are superficial and do not require any special treatment, proper knowledge and treatment can significantly reduce pain, discomfort, and healing time. For severe burns, you will need to seek emergency care.
What is severity measured?
Severity of a burn injury is generally measured by the depth that the injury reaches. The treatment method can vary depending on how severe a burn is. Generally, burns are classified into three or four categories.
1st Degree Burn:
First degree burns are the most common of burn injuries and only affect the uppermost layer of the skin. Touching hot objects, or overexposure to the sun are common causes of first degree burns. Although they rarely result in any complications, it can take a week or longer to heal, and they are typically painful and discomforting. The skin will be red, but dry.
2nd Degree Burn:
Second degree burns also damage the second layer of the skin. Typically, the skin will be bright red, with significant blistering. The burned skin will often be moist, and extremely painful. These burns can progress to worse third degree burns, so it is important to monitor these burns. Healing can take up to a month.
3rd Degree Burn:
Third degree burns are the most serious of burn injuries and involves all layers of the skin, causing permanent damage. In some cases, the fat, muscle, or even the bone may be damaged by the burn. The skin will often be white or brown, rather than the bright red that is seen in less severe burns. The injury will also be painless. In all cases, professional medical attention will be required to properly care for the injury, and to prevent serious infection.