how to treat burns

How to Treat Burns

Nov 01, 2020

We have all had burns at one point in our lives. A burn is tissue damage caused either by hot liquids, fire, chemicals, radiation, electrical contact, or overexposure to the sun. The most common cause for this injury is fire and hot drinks and overexposure from the sun. Read on to find out more about burns and how to treat them.

Types of Burns

There are several types of burns. The difference is usually in the level of severity. These types are:

First-degree burns

Also called superficial burns, these burns are the least severe and easy to treat using at-home remedies. The damage caused to you with this condition only affects your skin’s top layer (epidermis). An example is a blistering skin burn. The characteristics of superficial burns include:

  • Commonly heals after six days and does not leave a scar
  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • The burn turns white when pressed
  • It takes 3 to 6 days to heal

Second-degree burns

Another name for these burns is superficial partial thickness. For this type of burn, the extent of damage to your skin usually extends to the dermis. An example is sunburn. The following are characteristics of second-degree burns:

  • Heals after 7 to 21 days
  • Does not leave scarring
  • The burn is painful and can be sensitive to air and water movement
  • Forms blisters
  • The damaged skin becomes dark or light for good
  • It turns white when pressed

Third-degree burns

The damage to your skin is severe with this type of burn. Otherwise called deep partial thickness, third-degree burns damage’s your skin’s deepest layer (hypodermis). A burn that immediately causes a blister is an example of a third-degree burn. Its characteristics include:

  • May take longer than 21 days to heal
  • Painful with deep pressure
  • Causes severe scaring
  • Does not turn white when pressed
  • Usually forms blisters

Fourth-degree burns

Also called full-thickness burns, this is the most severe type of burn. This burn destroys your skin. The damage extends to underlying structures like tendons, bones, and nerves. Characteristics include:

  • Causes severe scaring
  • Skin affected appears dry
  • As a result of damage to your nerve endings, these burns are usually painless
  • Only heals with surgical treatment
  • Doesn’t turn white when you touch it
  • Waxy white to charred black or leathery grey color

Complications Resulting from Burns

The following are the complications you expect from widespread or deep burns:

  • Breathing complications caused by taking in smoke
  • Bone and joint problems resulting from tightening and shortening of muscles, skin, or tendons
  • Alarming low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • A bacterial infection that can cause bloodstream infection (sepsis)
  • Due to an overgrowth of scar tissue, your burn may leave a scar
  • Loss of fluids and low blood volume (hypovolemia)

When to See a Doctor

For severe burns, you need to regularly clean the wound, replace the skin, and a supply of nutrition and fluids coupled with a few days in the hospital for a speedy recovery. In case you experience any of the issues below, quickly visit an ER (emergency room) nearest to you:

  • You experience difficulty breathing
  • Burns affecting all layers of your skin
  • In case your skin appears leathery resulting from a burn
  • If you have burns caused by electricity or chemicals
  • Burns that cause damage to a large area of your body
  • In case your airway has burns
  • New and unusual symptoms
  • Signs of infection like redness, increase in pain, swelling, and oozing of the wound
  • A blister or burn that takes longer than two weeks to heal
  • Severe scarring

Tips for a Speedy Recovery

How fast a burn heals depends on the cause and how severe the damage caused to your skin by the burn is. Antibiotic creams can give relief or prevent infections resulting from burns. Below are tips for a speedy recovery:

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Put on loose clothes
  • Do not scratch or rub the burnt surface
  • Moisturize the burnt surface after healing 2 to 3 times a day to avert scarring
  • Take more proteins
  • Please consult with your doctor about whether it is safe to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotic creams for faster healing

Burns can cause irreparable and severe damage if left untreated. You should book an appointment with your doctor to avert significant complications resulting from delayed treatment. In case you are looking for a clinic with the best emergency care unit in Abilene, visit us today at Express ER in Abilene. With emergency rooms equipped with the best facilities, we offer affordable and efficient health services to our clients in Abilene and beyond.

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