How burns are classified

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When it comes to burns, you can determine its severity by checking how deep the damage is through the skin. The thickness of a particular burn is categorized by degree. For minor burns, it starts at the lowest number and a severe burn has a higher number.

First-degree burns

A first-degree burn is also called as a superficial burn in which only the surface of the skin is damaged, while the epidermis is still intact without disrupting its functioning. This burn can be incurred if a hot object is touched such as the surface of kettle with boiling water. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn which is considered as a first-degree burn.

Minor burns should be cooled with running water or sprayed with cool water.

The common symptoms of this type of burn include redness of the skin, swelling and pain. These are mild and goes away after a day or two in which the skin will start to peel and eventually heal. Simple first aid measures can be administered to minimize the discomfort.

Second-degree burns

The damage with this burn involves the epidermis and the dermis which is the second skin layer. Second-degree burns are also called as partial-thickness burns. When determining the severity of burns, a second-degree burn can indicate the loss of skin function on the affected area.

The first and indicative sign of a second-degree burn are blisters. Since the epidermis is destroyed, it will start to separate from the dermis. As a result, fluid will start to accumulate beneath it, resulting to the formation of blisters. In due time, the blisters will spread until the thin epidermis falls out, exposing the raw dermis beneath it. Aside from the blisters, other symptoms include deep redness on the affected area, skin is painful when touched, affected area appears wet and shiny and the burn is white or discolored with an irregular pattern.

The moment the epidermis has fully separated from the dermis, the individual will start to lose fluid, heat and infection could not be prevented from developing. Take note that the involvement of the raw nerve cells in the dermis can cause a lot of pain.

Third-degree burns

In a third-degree burn, both the epidermis and dermis is damaged. The individual will suffer from heat loss, fluid loss and infection. Also called as full-thickness burns, it involves the death of nerves, resulting to numbness in the affected area.

The symptoms include dry leathery skin, swelling, and black or white colored skin as well as the lack of pain due to the damaged nerve endings. Large third-degree burns typically heal in a slow manner and poorly if appropriate medical care is not provided. Due to the destroyed epidermis and hair follicles, new skin heals slowly and can result to a scar that can be scarring or impair the function of the affected part.

Always remember that it is not easy to differentiate between second-degree burns and third-degree burns. With this in mind, burns that are deep enough leading to the separation of the epidermis from the dermis are considered in determining the severity.

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