Burns are somewhat common and most people have experienced at least one in their life, even a minor burn from touching a hot pan. Heat, sunlight, radiation, electricity and chemicals can also be the cause of a burn, which is when your body’s skin and tissues get damaged. There are three main categories of burns including first, second and third degree burns which vary in their severity. The most common causes of burns are from building fires, hot steam, a burn from a hot liquid, and flammable liquids and gases. Burns can cause blistering, swelling, scarring and sometimes shock or death. Burns may also lead to infection if not properly treated.
Types of Burns
There are three main types of burns, first-degree, second-degree and third-degree burns. First degree burns just damage the outer layer of skin and are the less severe type of burn. These burns often go away quickly. Second degree burns damage the outer layer plus the layer underneath, such as with a sunburn. The most severe and dangerous type of burn is a third degree burn in which the outer skin and deepest layers of tissues and skin are damaged.
First degree burns are the least serious type of burns as they only burn the outer layer of skin. While they can be painful and take a little while to heal, they don’t have any adverse health conditions. With a first-degree burn, the skin will be red with some swelling and pain. The best way to treat a first-degree burn is with ointment or aloe vera gel applied every few hours until it begins to fade. Be careful not to rub anything against the burn or it will cause more pain and possible blistering.
Second degree burns can be very painful though not as dangerous as third-degree burns. Second-degree burns are identified as the outer layer and second layer of skin being burned. This is often accompanied by blistering, dark red or splotchy appearance, a moderate to severe amount of pain, swelling, and sickness such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, fever and chills. If the second-degree burn is less than 3-inche sin diameter, treat it as a minor burn. However if it is more than 3-inches, you should consult a doctor. Cool down the burn with cool water over it for 10-15 minutes until the pain begins to subside. Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze bandage and don’t apply ice or heat to the area.
Third-degree burns should be treated by a doctor only. They are serious burns, affecting all layers of skin and some of the tissue underneath. Symptoms of a third-degree burn include severe pain, along with damage to the fat, muscle or even bone, charred black or dry white skin, and problems inhaling and breathing normally. This type of burn is most likely due to a building fire or contact with flammable liquids. Before you reach the emergency room, be careful not to immerse the burn in water, avoid removing the clothing and avoid contact with the burn.