A burn is defined as a type of personal injury that is caused by applying heat, chemicals, radiation or electricity to either organic tissue or to a specific material.
While first degree burns can usually be healed with a dressing and proper care and attention, deeper tissue burns can be much more difficult to treat. Due to the inherent risks of infection and the long healing times needed, second and third degree burns can not only be very painful, but in some cases, have been fatal.
Burns By Degrees
There are a number types of specific skin burns, which are measured by "degrees". These "degrees" determine the level of severity of the burn and where needed, the type of medical treatment to apply.
These types are:
1st Degree Burns
In most instances, a first-degree burn is the least severe of most types of burn injuries, and usually only affects the outer layer of skin - the epidermis. The only other time this type of injury is considered very serious is if the victim has been burned on the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, in which case, immediate medical attention is required,
A first-degree burn is often caused by hot liquids - things like hot tea, coffee and chocolate for example - and the pain level of first-degree burns is generally associated with swelling, tingling and a general sensitivity of the wounded area.
2nd Degree Burns
A second-degree burn is also known as a "partial thickness burn". What this means is that the burn has not only affected the epidermis, but ALSO the dermis - which is the layer of underlying skin beneath the epidermis.
Second-degree burns are often created by sudden explosions or flash-type of injuries - those sustained in a fuel tank explosion or commercial arc injury.
Often considered the most painful of all burns, second-degree burns have the appearance of a "weeping wound" with the damaged and surrounding areas being red, very swollen and usually blistered.
NOTE - if a second-degree burn is less than 3 inches in size, it will often be treated as a first-degree burn.
3rd Degree Burns
Third-degree burns affect the entire skin area, and often include burning the underlying muscle as well. In many instances, these types of burns involve destroying hair follicles and sweat glands, with the affected area often looking either brown, white, yellow, red and in some cases, a type of leathery-black.
An interesting point to note is that as the nerves are often burned in these types of injuries, they may not be as painful as a second-degree level burn.
Quite often, third-degree burn victims also experience difficulty inhaling and exhaling, which is due to the inhalation of toxic fumes that may have been present at the site of the fire.
Third-degree burns generally require some type of skin graft, hospitalization and also intensive medical care to try and minimize the chances of infection setting in.
4th Degree Burns
Fourth-degree burns are the often life-threatening and usually involve the burn reaching the bone. All burned skin is usually permanently lost, with burned limbs unfortunately being amputated.
The causes associated with this level of burn include housing fires and high voltage electric shock.
What Can I Do To Help A Burn Victim?
This depends largely on the degree of burn, as they all have their own specific type of care. However, listed below are some of the important steps that you can take before medical help arrives:
For Minor Burns:
cool the burn - hold the burn under cool (NOT cold) running water for 10-15 minutes. If that is not practical, wet a clean cloth in cool water and use it to LIGHTLY compress against the burn area.
cover the burn with a sterile gauze - do NOT use fluffy cotton and ONLY press lightly on the wound.
take an over-the-counter pain killer - aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen are all ok, but be careful when administering a dosage to children or the elderly, If you are unsure, consult your local doctor.
do NOT use ice!
do NOT use egg whites!!
do NOT break blisters!!!
For Major Burns:
seek immediate medical attention - until medical attention arrives, try the following:
do NOT remove clothing - although ensure that the victim is away from being burned further.
do NOT immerse in cold water - doing so can cause hypothermia.
check for signs of breathing - if there are no signs of breathing, commence CPR.
elevate burned body parts - if possible, raise above the level of the heart.
cover the burn - using a STERILE cloth that is clean, cool and moist.
It is also recommended that burns victims get a tetanus shot every 10 years as burns have been proven to be susceptible to this.
Can I Seek Compensation For My Injuries?
If you or a loved one has received a serious burn as a result of a defective product or the mis-conduct of another person, you may be eligible to receive a compensation payout. By contacting a reputable law firm, their attorneys will be able to assess your case and determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit for damages.
At the law firm of Gordon & Doner, we have a proud history of fighting for the rights of the injured - not the powerful. If you are unsure if you have a case, please contact us. We have fought many personal injury cases , and have obtained MAXIMUM compensation in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Not only do we offer our customers over 150 years of combined legal experience, but we also work on a contingency basis - which means that we don't charge you unless we obtain money for you.
Our skilled team will help to guide you through the personal injury litigation process and will fight with your best interests in mind so that you can focus on the most important thing - getting healthy and "back to normal".
Contact us today. We service most of South Florida, and will provide knowledgeable legal council, and the determination to fight for your MAXIMUM compensation benefits.
To start today, simply fill out the "Free Case Evaluation" form at the top of this page - it's FREE!