Types of Burns
Burns can be caused to the skin and underlying tissues of the body by various means. While burn injuries have their own serious consequences, loss of body fluid through severe burning can also cause shock, which can be serious, hence any severe burning case must be considered a medical emergency and acted upon accordingly.
Burns are mostly of the following three types:
i. Thermal Burns
These can be caused by direct flames or hot dry objects, or scalding by hot liquids and steam. Burns from cooking gas flame, too come under this category.
ii. Chemical burns
These can be caused by strong acids, alkalies, etc
iii. Electrical burns
These occur through electrical short-circuiting when any part of your body comes in contact with live high voltage electricity.
Grading the burns
Burns are graded as First degree, Second degree and Third degree burns in proportion to the extent of the damage taken place. (Click the image to view clearly) First degree burns affect only the outer skin while the second degree burns extend to part of the inner skin, too. The third degree burns reach all the way down, affecting even the flesh and nerves. See UNM for additional information. Here are some tips on first aid for all types of burns (multiple sources).
1. For First and Second Degree Burns
i. Stop further aggravation of burning or scalding, by moving the victim away from the source of the burns or putting out the fire. (To move victims of electric shock, read this first). Pouring water to put out fire/heat will help. You can also cover the person temporarily with a thick blanket or similar less-flammable material to smother the fire.
ii. Start cooling the injury by pouring cool running water (not ice cold) over the burn areas for at least ten minutes until the person feels somewhat relieved. In case of chemical burns irrigating the area with water also helps remove the left-over chemicals from the affected part.
Why pour water on burn injury?
The tissue damage below the outer skin continues for the next several minutes even after the source of burn is withdrawn; and this process of post-burn damage can be arrested only by pouring cool (not ice-cold) water over the area for several minutes. In case of Third Degree Burns, this may not help, hence immediate medical intervention will be needed
Avoid applying ice, greasy item or creams.
iii. Remove any item on the person, such as jewellery and clothing, that can come out without damaging skin. But do not attempt to pull any item that is stuck to the half burnt skin.
iv. Call for medical assistance or rush the victim to a hospital without causing further hurt to the burnt tissues by rough handling.
For Chemical and Electrical Burns, you may also visit the website forensicmed.
For further information, you may read
2. For Third Degree Burns
Do not try to apply water on the burns. Call the ambulance or rush the person to the hospital as soon as possible.
Click below to visit other first-aid and related topics discussed in our website.
Choking Drowning Electric shock Epilepsy fits Fractures Childbirth (First Aid) Poisoning Suicide intention Unconscious / Fainting LPG cooking gas
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