Burn Injury Questions
What are the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the three burns are:
- First-degree burn - The least serious burns are those in which only the outer layer of skin is burned, but not all the way through. The skin is usually red, with swelling, and pain is sometimes present. Treat a first-degree burn as a minor burn unless it involves substantial portions of the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or a major joint, which requires emergency medical attention.
- Second-degree burn - When the first layer of skin has been burned through and the second layer of skin (dermis) also is burned, the injury is called a second-degree burn. Blisters develop and the skin takes on an intensely reddened, splotchy appearance. Second-degree burns produce severe pain and swelling. If the second-degree burn is no larger than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in diameter, treat it as a minor burn. If the burned area is larger or if the burn is on the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or over a major joint, treat it as a major burn and get medical help immediately.
- Third-degree burn – The most serious burns involve all layers of the skin and cause permanent tissue damage. Fat, muscle, and even bone may be affected. Areas may be charred black or appear dry and white. Difficulty inhaling and exhaling, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other toxic effects may occur if smoke inhalation accompanies the burn.
What are some common types of burns accidents?
Common types of burn accidents include electrocution burns, thermal burns, smoke/heat inhalation, fume ignition, flammable clothing, flammable liquids, scold/burns-hot liquids, work related accidents, building fires, chemical burns, gas explosions, gasoline spills, motor vehicle fires, water heater fires, defective products, electrical wires, faulty equipment, and defective gas tanks.
What if a burn is caused by a defective product?
Unsafe products can and do cause burns. If the item in question was used properly but still caused a burn, the manufacturer may be liable for damages. Unclear instructions, failure to warn, or outright defects can all generate a product liability suit.
How are severe burns treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of the burn injury. Burns sustained may be so severe they require multiple surgeries (plastic surgery, reconstruction, and skin grafting), extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation, occupational therapy, months off of work, on-going counseling, pain management therapy, and years of recuperation. The average length of stay for a hospital burn patient is 24 days and is longer for severe patients.