Burns are something that nearly everyone will encounter in one degree or another at some point during their lives. While some burns are far more serious than others it is important to have at least a basic understanding of how the severity of a burn is determined. By knowing how severe a burn is you are better equipped at how best to treat the burn.
Burns are classified by degrees based upon how many layers of the skin are affected. For example, first degree burns affect only the top layer of skin and are considered minor. The area of a first degree burn may appear red but does not hurt very much. A common example of a first degree burn might be a minor case of sunburn. The best treatment for this type of burn is to cool the area. Beyond this not much else is needed because it is generally only a mild discomfort if pain is present at all.
Second degree burns are slightly more severe because they affect both the first and second layers of skin. This type of burn is often accompanied by redness and blistering of the area. A person with second degree burns may or may not experience pain depending on whether the nerves were damaged or destroyed by the burn.
Third degree burns are the most severe burns that can be experienced. This type of burn affects the first and second layers of skin in addition to blood vessels, sweat glands, nerve endings and follicles. Bone and muscle may also be affected if the burn is severe enough. It is common for victims of third degree burns to feel no pain since the nerve endings have likely been destroyed. The area of a third degree burn may appear charred or have a leathery look depending on the cause of the burn.
When it comes to burns the need for medical attention depends on the severity of the burn. A first degree or minor burn rarely needs medical attention when proper care is used from the beginning. As the severity of the burn increases so does the need for medical care. Some burns should be treated by health care professionals regardless of the severity. Some common examples of burns that should always receive medical attention include those which affect sensitive areas of the body or affect children under the age of two years or adults over the age of fifty years.
When treating burns, there are some common things that a person should be careful not to do. First of all you should never touch a burn or break blisters that are present as this can lead to infection. When cleaning a burn always use cool – not cold water. While it is important to cool the burn to reduce pain it is important not to cool the burn too quickly as this can cause shock. Knowing the best ways to treat burns is essential to taking the proper steps to prevent infection and worsening of the condition.