Types and degrees of burn injuries

first aid box

Burn injuries, both mild and severe, are some of the most painful anyone can suffer. As severity increases, people are left permanently disfigured and their quality of life is diminished. That’s on top of thousands of dollars in medical care. In the healthcare industry, burns are categorized by type and degree to better address the wounds. 

Different Types of Burns

With a wide variety of accidents capable of causing burn injuries, there are several ways to categorize burns by type. Each comes with its own set of symptoms and style of burn, as well as ways to treat the injury. 

The first type is electrical burns. These happen after touching an outlet or exposed wiring. While a mild shock is fine, heavier dosages can cause severe burning. The second is radiation, which can be caused by any radioactive material. Sunburn is one form, while too much X-ray exposure is more severe. 

Next, there are chemical burns. Those who regularly work with solvents, acids, and other dangerous or toxic chemicals are most at risk. When safety measures fail and these chemicals touch bare skin, individuals often need to seek the aid of a worker’s compensation lawyer

There are also thermal burns, which are the most common. These happen when someone comes into contact with an incredibly hot object such as fire, steam, or scalding liquids. Finally, there are friction burns. A mild version would be those from sliding bare skin across a carpet, while more serious incidents happen in motorcycle accidents. 

Different Degrees of Burns

Burns range from first to fourth degree in severity, with fourth being the most severe and painful. Those in the first degree are near harmless, leaving behind a little redness and some pain on the outer layer of skin. 

Those in the second-degree impact both the outer layer of skin and the layer underneath, which may cause small blisters or swollen spots. These are also common, especially to those who work in environments that expose them to thermal burns. 

Third-degree burns require medical attention and are capable of nerve damage. Your skin can blacken and even char, searing through multiple layers to create lasting damage. In fourth-degree scenarios, an individual’s life is threatened. These are rare, but every layer of the skins is at risk of being incinerated while muscles and tendons are destroyed. In some cases, even bones can succumb to burns. 

Treating Burns

While most people will never experience a third- or fourth-degree burn in their lifetime, it does help to know how to treat the lesser two degrees. Skin ointments and pain medication work best, with acidic foods like pickles working in a pinch to alleviate pain. Antibiotic cream is also highly recommended. 

When medical attention is needed, it’s important to know who is at fault for the accident. Workplace burns are all too common, especially in blue collar positions. Immigrants are routinely taken advantage of in these positions, which is why a Spanish speaking personal injury lawyer is essential to many of these cases. If your burn is the result of employer negligence, don’t hesitate to call an attorney immediately.