A burn occurs when there is a skin damage due to the exposure to heat, sunlight, electricity, chemicals or radiation. All burns are painful, even the minor ones and may lead to infection if not treated. The healing period for a minor burn is several days and may take up to weeks or months a major or serious burns.
Most of the burns are caused due to the exposure to the open flames (fire), there are other burs which require treatments and care. Let us understand more about the types of burns
Thermal burns are caused when skin comes in contact with very hot objects. When excess heat is applied on the skin, heat causes damage, death or charring of the skin cells and tissues. Few examples may be hot metals, flames, steam and scalding liquids can cause thermal burns.
Cold burns are caused when the skin is damaged due to direct contact with excess of cold for a prolonged time. It may be a very cold object or freezing temperatures. Such burns are also called frostbite.
Electrical burns are caused from electrical current when skin comes in contact with it.
Chemical Burns are caused when skin encounters direct contact with strong acids, detergents, alkalies or solvents
Radiation burns are caused due X-rays, radiation therapy (used to treat cancer) or ultra-violet rays may cause radiation burns.
Friction burns are caused when a hard object rips off skin. A scrape or abrasion. Motorcycle, bike accidents are considered as friction burns.
How deep is the burn? Degrees of burns
Based on the depth of the skin damage, or the penetration into the skin.
The burns are classified as first degree burn when only the outer layer or epidermis of the skin is damaged. Mild sunburn can be classified as first degree burn. There is no blister formed over the burn site, The burn area looks dry, red and painful. There may be skin colour change either to dark or lighter colour; change but long term tissue damage is usually rare.
When the burn site involves the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of the skin, it is called second-degree burn. The burn site may be swollen, with blisters, is painful and red colour. There are chances of permanent scar and change in colour of the skin. It is also called as ‘partial thickness burns’.
The third-degree burn involves epidermis and dermis. It is also called as ‘full thickness burns’. The third-degree burn may involve and cause damage to muscle, bones and tendon. As the nerve ending are damaged, there may not be sensation at the burn site in third-degree burn. The burn area may look charred or white colour. Third-degree burns may cause infection, disfigurement, scarring or lead to physical disabilities.
Treatment for skin burns
The healing period is short for minor wounds. The serious burns would need assessment followed by treatment. The aim of burns treatment is to control pain, prevent infection, reduce the risk of scarring and restore normal functioning of an individual. The treatment protocol may include wound dressing, medications, therapy or surgery if required.
The medical treatment for major burn may involve medications for pain, anxiety, antibiotics to fight infections, burn creams, ointments, tetanus injection. Additional IV fluids may be given to prevent dehydration and organ failure. Wound dressing to promote wound healing.
Physiotherapy, surgical treatments like skin grafts, plastic surgery may also be recommended by doctor depending on the degree of burn.
Based on the specific areas involved, special therapies may be recommended
First Aid for Burns Minor Burns
First Aid for Burns For Major Burns
The major burns are to be treated at hospitals but the first aid may be provided until the help arrives
A clean cloth or sheet may be used to wrap the patient and transport to the nearest health hospital.
What not to do?
Silvergesic cream is available at leading medical stores in India