Burn Injuries and What You Should Know

According to the American Burn Association, there are roughly 450,000 patients each year that receive hospital and emergency room treatment for a burn-related injury. Of these injuries, 3,400 deaths occur each year. Back in 2010, a fire-related death occurred every 169 minutes and an injury occurred every 30 minutes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it the third leading cause of death in the home. These statistics may seem alarming, however, these still do not reflect visits to hospital clinics, private medical offices, nor community health centers. Listed below are the different types of burn injuries along with their classification and the most common leading causes.

Types of Burn Injuries:

  • Thermal Burns: These burns are usually caused by a flame, any heat or contact with a hot object.
  • Chemical Burns: Common in industrial settings and in household cleaners and swimming pools, these burns are a bit different than others. Many times, chemical burns may appear to be harmless as they do not seem serious right away. However, they can become worse as they continue to react to the exposed tissue.
  • Scald Burns: Most commonly seen in children, these types of burns are produced by hot liquids such as water or cooking oil.
  • Electrical Burns: Not only is the actual burn painful and serious, electricity can also cause internal injuries that are not immediately visible to healthcare providers. These are very serious burns as they can cause a heart attack, neurological damage, and even ruptured eardrums. Be careful as electrocution burns are far more serious than they tend to appear. Even a small burn can place a person at risk of losing a limb.

Classification of Burn Injuries:

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  • First Degree Burn: This particular burn is a superficial burn injury. More like a sunburn, a bit pink with the potential to cause dehydration for the victim. The outer skin layer, the epidermis, is the only layer damaged in these burns with the deeper skin structures still intact. Usually, these types of burn heal over the course of a few days. Medical attention is normally not required, however, if most of the body is affected and you’re dehydrated or having problems with pain, then, by all means, please seek out medical attention.
  • Second Degree Burn: Also called a partial thickness injury, in addition to the outer skin layer (epidermis), the inner skin layer (dermis) is also damaged. These burns are bright red, moist and painful to the touch. They also blister and appear to look like an open wound. It usually takes about two to three weeks to completely heal.
  • Third Degree Burn: Also called a full thickness burn injury. These burns are less painful due to the nerve endings being damaged. The outer skin and full inner skin layer (both the dermis and subcutaneous tissue) are damaged. They appear as an open wound and can appear as dark red, white, brown and leathery or even charred. Please seek immediate medical attention if you have suffered a third-degree burn.

Common Causes of Burns:

  • Workplace Accidents – A very common way in which people suffer burn injuries is through their work environment. Many jobs have their workers exposed to high-temperature equipment or heavy machinery with open flames.
  • Car Accidents – Another common cause of burn injuries, car accidents sometimes result in some part catching on fire which can cause a burn injury if trapped inside.
  • Defective Products – Defective consumer goods are a leading cause of serious burns amongst people. If ever you have suffered an injury due to a defective product, seek help right away.

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