If you have ever touched something accidentally that was extremely hot, you may have had to deal with the frustration and pain on a finger for maybe a few days. Imagine if that burn was spread over a larger area on your body and the source of the heat was twice as hot. A severe burn can be one of the most painful and devastating injuries you can suffer. Some of the worst burn situations can leave you with permanent scarring. You can even suffer the loss of facial features and even fingers and toes. Some scarring from burns can even take up to two years to heal enough before you can attempt cosmetic surgery.
Types of burns
Burns are designated by degrees based on the severity. There are four burn injury categories.
First degree-burn – This type of burn affects the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. The pain from this type of burn is significant, but not debilitating. You can expect to see redness and swelling, and it usually heals itself in about a week. If you have ever had a mild sunburn, it was probably classified as a first-degree burn.
Second-degree burn – A second-degree burn causes the first layer of skin to be burned through and reaches the second layer of skin called the demis. This type of burn will cause blisters to develop and the skin will appear to be a deep red color. This deep of a burn will cause extreme pain and severe swelling.
Third-degree burn –This burn will destroy both layers of skin, the epidermis and demis, and will reach down to a third layer called the subcutaneous. Skin that suffers this harsh of a burn will appear either white or black and look leathery on the surface. A third-degree burn may not as painful as a first or second-degree burn because the nerve endings in the skin will have been burnt off. However, the area around the worst part of the burn can still cause a lot of pain.
Fourth-degree burn – The worst type of burn that can be suffered is a fourth-degree burn. This type of burn is life-threatening and burns every layer of skin and even your bones, tendons and muscles.
The causes of burns
Chemical – Strong acids or alkaloids can cause a burn that can easily go through layers of the skin. If the chemical is not removed from the body, it can continue to burn through the skin. These types of chemicals can easily be found in products around your home and work.
Scalding burn – A scalding burn will come from a hot liquid or steam. This type of burn, and not one from fire, is the most common for children.
Electrical burn – You can receive an electrical burn from an electrical outlet, appliance, a cord or even from lightening. Since the electricity is flowing into you, you may receive internal injuries besides just a burn.
Thermal burn – A thermal burn is contact with flames, hot liquids or hot objects. This type is most common in homes and work areas but can also happen during devastating events like car accidents or an airplane crash.
Scarring is an unfortunate result of a burn. In addition to scarring, a person may have to deal emotional trauma, disfigurement and organ damage because of a burn.
The damage a body can receive from a burn can be devastating. It may cause you to have limited mobility or keep you from normal activities or from work.