Every person in the world fears burns and knows that they can pose a serious threat in some situations. Burns are a type of physical injury when the skin gets in contact with certain things. Most people believe that fire is the only thing that can burn the skin but they are wrong because there are other things which can burn the skin such as radiation, electricity and certain chemicals. Severe burns are a serious health issue but even the smallest burns can cause quite a lot of pain. It is important that people learn as much as they can about various degrees of burns and learn how to treat them.
Types of Burn Injuries
People should realize that there is not one type of burn injuries but several. Apart from thermal burns, there are also chemical burns, scald burns and electrical burns.
Thermal burns are the ones people are most familiar with. These burns occur due to flame, heat or even a chemical reaction. There are three types of thermal burns and these are flame burns, heat and contact burns. In case of flames, they are known to cause direct heat and burn injury to the skin but flame can damage the deeper tissue as well. It is not uncommon for the heat to cause a burn injury when the fire is intense. Such situations are when the house or some other structure is on fire. Contact burns are pretty common because a lot of people come in contact with hot objects like a stove, for instance.
Chemical burns are not that common and are usually seen in industrial surroundings. However, people should pay attention when they use certain cleansers for the house or pool chemicals because they can also lead to chemical burns.
Scald burns occur due to certain hot liquids like water or cooking oil. Children are more prone to these burns.
Electrical burns are serious injuries. The main reason why that is so, is because apart from the burn electricity can also cause severe internal damage which is not visible at once. Ruptured ear drums and heart attack are only some of the possible electrical burn consequences.
Classification of Burn Injuries
As most people know, there are three different degrees of burns. First degree burns are the ones that are considered to be mild and the third degree burns are considered to be the most severe.
First degree burns are otherwise known as superficial burn injuries and they are the most common. A person who suffers from the burn of the first degree will be able to diagnose it him or herself. The burn looks pretty much like sunburn and the skin becomes pink and hurt a little. It is not uncommon for the victim to experience mild dehydration as well. In case of a first degree burn only the outer layer of the skin is damaged and the deeper structures are preserved. The burn of the first degree will not look like an open wound. The most common causes of first degree burns are sunburn and tanning beds. There is no need for a person to go to the hospital in case of a first degree burn unless most of the body is affected or he or she feels seriously dehydrated.
Second degree burns are a bit more serious than first degree burns. Apart from the outer layer of the skin, part of the inner layer is also damaged. A person who suffered from a second degree burn will experience a bright red skin, which is moist and quite painful to touch. Blisters are quite common as well. A second degree burn will need at least 14 days to heal.
If the wound is a big one, the patient should go to the hospital because there is a chance of infection. If the burn covers more than 10% of the entire body, the patient should be treated in a specialized burn center.
Third degree burn is also known as full thickness burn injury. The main reason why that is so is because not only the outer skin layer will be damaged but the entire inner skin layer as well. The color of the burn is not always the same and it may vary. In some cases it is dark red but it can also be brown or even white. The wound is not painful to touch because the nerve endings are damaged. Such burns are treated in hospitals only. Third degree burns are known to be very serious, frequently fatal and in most cases require surgery.
A person who suffered from a burn injury must be taken to the hospital unless the burn is of the first degree and not serious. Relevant Statistical Data
Even though a lot of effort is being put in prevention of accidental fires, burn injuries and deaths still occur. According to certain data, deaths which occurred because of fires and burns were in the fifth place of the most common causes of unintentional deaths in the United States. In the year 2005 there were over 1.6 million fires in the US. Out of all these fires exactly 3,675 civilians died and 17,925 were injured. These fires caused the death of 87 firefighters as well. According to available data, the total property damage of these fires was $10.7 billion.