Burns can happen at anytime at home, work or even at school. They can happen while on vacation or while out working in the yard. Knowing how to recognize the level of a burn and which burns can be treated at home and which ones need immediate medical attention can make a difference to the burned individual’s condition and healing process.
Levels of Burns:
There are three levels of burns that you should be aware of in order to recognize a burn and how to treat it.
First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin. They are painful, red and the skin may swell.
Second-degree burns affect the outer layer of skin and the underlying skin layer. They also are painful, will be red, swell and may involve blistering.
Third-degree burns involve the deeper layer of skin tissues. The skin will look blackened, white or charred looking. The individual is usually numb and not feeling any pain as the nerves is usually damaged at this level.
It is important to decide which level of burn is involved before giving first aid. There may be more than one level of burn on the body, so determine which is the most serious layer of burn. Are there first and second-degree burns? The reason you give immediate first aid if possible to a burn victim is that doing so, can lessen the severity of the burn. Prompt medical care can help prevent scarring, deformity and disability for the individual who is burned. The most serious burns are those affecting the face, hands, feet and the genitals. Individuals under age 4 and those over age 60 have the highest risk for complications and death from severe burns.
When assisting burn victims besides paying attention to the burns, you also need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning often goes hand and hand with the potential for burns when there are fire victims. If anyone who has been involved in a fire complains of a headache, numbness, weakness, or chest pain they should be tested for carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are many ways to be burned including hot liquids, steam, radiation, friction, objects that have been heated, sun, electricity and also chemicals.
The most common type of burns is thermal burns. Thermal burns occur when anything has heated up metals, or heated liquids, steam, or flame touches skin. Thermal burns occur in automobile accidents, when kids play with matches, gasoline accidents, space heaters, electrical malfunctions and also unsafe handling of fireworks. Kitchen accidents usually involve thermal burns such as hot liquids spilling from stoves or a child grabbing a hot iron. Burns can occur in your airways from inhaling smoke, steam, or when you inhale toxic fumes or superheated air. Unfortunately another form of thermal burn that happens to children can be initiated in the form of abuse from adults.
The symptoms of thermal burns are:
Pain, blisters, peeling skin, red skin, shock (pale skin, clammy skin, weakness, blue lips or fingernails, a drop in alertness), swelling of skin, and also white or blackened skin that looks charred.
Airway burn symptoms:
Charring around mouth or lips that look burned
Burns around the head, face or neck areas
Singed nose hairs or singed eyebrows
Mucus that is dark in color or carbon-stained