Burns are some of the most serious and painful injuries possible and burn treatments and other related expenses cost 7.5 billion dollars each year in the United States. There are different degrees of burns and the more severe the injury, the greater its potential impact on the victim’s quality of life.
The different types of burns are:
First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, which is the outer layer of your skin. These are also called superficial burns or minor burns. While they can be painful, they do not usually cause long-term issues. Mild sunburns are an example of this type of burn as are most scalds, which are burns from hot liquid.
You can treat most burns of this degree by placing a cool (not cold) compress over the burn area and applying antibiotic ointment as necessary. Skin will peel off as the burn heals and this process usually takes 3-20 days.
You should seek medical care if the burn becomes extremely painful, if you notice signs of infection, or if the burn is taking longer than normal to heal. It is also important to see a doctor after any electrical burn. Even if the burn seems superficial, there may be deeper tissue damage that you cannot see.
Second-degree burns are also called partial thickness burns because they destroy the epidermis and some, but not all, of the layer below that (the dermis). They take longer to heal than first-degree burns and are more painful. This type of burn is considered minor if it is less than 2-3 inches wide. If it covers a larger area or affects your joints, face, or groin, it is classified as a major burn.
Symptoms of partial thickness burns include redness, pain, and swelling. Additionally, you may see blisters, a wet-looking or seeping wound, or skin that looks very light or very dark. The pain is more severe than first-degree burns.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a second-degree burn, you should seek medical attention. For minor cases, treatment of this type of burn involves applying antibiotic ointment and dressing the wound to avoid infection. If the burn affected a more sensitive area or covers a larger area, it may require more intense treatment such as a skin graft.
Third-degree burns, or full thickness burns, destroy all of the epidermis and dermis. The affected area may appear white or blackened instead of red like superficial or partial thickness burns.
Since third-degree burns destroy nerve endings, they are not painful. However, they often have second-degree burns around them, which can cause pain. Full thickness burns cause lasting damage and victims are often left with severe scarring. It is necessary to seek emergency medical treatment for these degrees of burns and skin grafts are often a part of treatment.
Fourth-degree burns are the rarest type of burn injury. They completely destroy the epidermis and dermis. Unlike third-degree burns, they also destroy bone, muscle, and tendons. Amputation is usually required in cases of severe tissue damage and there is a greater risk of fatalities from these burns. Victims require immediate emergency medical attention and often will need extensive treatment.
The Costs of Burn Injuries
Treatment of burns can include long hospital stays and follow-up treatments such as cosmetic surgery or physical therapy. In addition to large medical bills, more severe burn injuries can dramatically impact your quality of life.
When Negligence Leads to Burns
Some burns are the result of accidents that could not have been foreseen or prevented. However, there are situations where you or a loved one sustained a burn due to someone else’s negligence. In these cases, you should call our personal injury law firm as soon as possible. We can help you get the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track.