Burns – to What Degree?

The majority of burns occur at home or at the workplace. In classifying burns, most are deemed minor burns such as being burned with hot water, touching a hot stove or oven, touching a hot steam iron or being burns on the finger or forehead from a curling iron. Be careful when you know you are near something hot!

Most burns are classified as minor injuries which occur at home or at the workplace.  Common burns we sometimes get are those from hot water, a curling iron, or touching a hot stove or oven.  It is important to apply some immediate treatment to prevent infection and to reduce the pain. Ice works best and relieves pain immediately.  

There are many types of burns and it is wise to be aware of the causes and more important to know what the proper treatment for all.  

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1.  Heat Burns -  These burns are caused by hot liquids, fire, steam or by touching hot objects.  Most burns of this type are in the home, so be sure to keep small children away from all hot objects or liquids and warn others in the home when you are moving around with hot items.  

2. Cold Temperature Burns  – Long exposure in the fierce cold, windy and wet conditions can cause the skin to be burned by this type of burn.  Many times frostbite is seen in cases, so be aware of the outside weather and dress warmly and wisely. 

3.  Electrical Burns - These burns are from direct contact with electrical sources and also by a strike of lightning. 

4.  Chemical Burns  –  Also painful, are chemical burns,  which can be caused due to any contact with household chemicals or industrial strength chemicals found in a liquid, solid, or gas form.  Another oddity classified as a chemical burn is hot chili peppers which have a substances whereby the skin is severely irritated causing burning sensations.  

5.  Radiation Burns – Some instances of radiation burn causes are from tanning booths, sun lamps, exposure to the sun, X-rays and radiation treatment in cancer patients.  

6.  Friction Burns are caused by contact with any hard surface such as roads (”road rash”), carpets, or gym floor surfaces. They are usually both a scrape (abrasion) and a heat burn. Athletes who fall on floors, courts, or tracks may get friction burns to the skin. Motorcycle or bicycle riders who have road accidents while not wearing protective clothing also may get friction burns. 

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Burns injure the skin layers and can also injure other parts of the body, such as muscles, blood vessels, nerves, lungs, and eyes.  Burns are defined as first, second, third, or fourth-degree, depending on how many layers of skin and tissue are burned.  Normally, the deeper the burn and the larger the area, the more serious the burn. 

Further, there are different degrees of the burns and they pertain to the skin.  Everyone should make themselves aware of the types of burn as treatment may be vastly different for each type or degree.

First Degree – Typically, first degree burns are limited to the first layer of skin and can be treated with ice or an ice pack to decrease the pain and the swelling.   

Second Degree – Classified within second degree burns are two types of these burns, both need immediate treatment and are more painful due to the areas involved.  

1.  Superficial burns injure both the first and second layers of the skin and are called “second degree” burns. 

2.  Deep partial-thickness burns injure the deeper skin layers. 

Third Degree burns injure all of the skin layers including tissue under the skin layers.  Anyone with a third degree burn has a severe injury and requires immediate medical treatment perhaps at a specialized hospital which treats burn victims.  More times than not, these burns are life-threatening even with proper treatment. 

Fourth-degree burns injure the skin layers and also the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and many times the bones.  Like third degree burns, these require immediate and extensive medical treatment and are also life-threatening. 

If you or someone you know is burned and you are in doubt of the degree of the burn or injury, it is always best to see a physician so that you can avoid serious scaring or serious infections which go hand-in-hand with burns.  Never think that a burn is just something small as it can be serious to ones health. Immediate treatment for any burn will stave of pain and further burning to the skin layers.  Be Careful!

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  1. Thanks for the effort on this valuable information

  2. Good article. Luckily, I only experienced minor heat and electrical burns. I got bit 2 or 3 times by full 220 from damaged electrical cable … Though, the burns were only limited to a very small dot on my finger … The hit hurt like hell though. I got my hand snatched by german shepherd dog (that I foolishly tried feeding by hand) once, but the electricity bites harder …

    Anyway, I am lucky that my skin reacts well to minor burns (you cannot even see that I was burnt after few hours). Many times, I grabbed very hot items while cooking or spilled boiling water all over my hand or even hot oil when something I was about to put in fell off the fork way too soon, few times I even grabbed a hot pan full of oil (and my lunch) right from the fire. Having attention problems, I did not notice the absence of handle, but rather grabbed it by the hot oily metal. Lol, it always took me few steps till I realized something is not good and I had to run back to the cooker …

    Hating the mess and waste of food, I have never dropped the pan (or any other hot object full of food I grabbed by accident), but heroicaly saved the (un)healthy food by suffering few more seconds till I could put the pan down safely (for the food and cleanliness of my apartment anyway) …

  3. Nice info..

  4. Nice to know.

  5. A complete and informative health article. Thanks

  6. ouch…good article

  7. Thanks for the great info. My mom always burns herself with the curling iron but will not put our aloe vera plant on it because she does not want to take off a leave which she said would look weird.

  8. thanks for this

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