Have you or a loved one suffered a burn injury, such as a scald burn, fire burn, steam burn, laser burn, or work-related burn?
As a lawyer who has represented severely burned clients, I have seen first hand how devastating a burn can be (both scald and fire burns). I represented a 2-year-old gorgeous little girl who got the skin burned off her legs from 190 degree scalding hot water from at an apartment complex. No one who has not experienced a severe burn can fully comprehend the severity of the pain involved. Imagine hydrotherapy and debridement after massive burns and skin grafts. Burns can change lives in a second. There is no fixing burned off skin. There are no words to describe the pain of a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree burn. It is surreal. Only screams can express it.
For burn victims and their families, the road to recovery is likely to be both long and difficult.
There are four categories of burn injuries:
- First-degree burns
- Superficial second-degree burns
- Deep second-degree burns
- Third-degree burns
- Fourth-degree burns (burning to the bone)
First-degree burns usually affect the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. A first-degree burn tends to be moist and red in color. A burn of this nature is generally resolved within a week. A classic example of a first-degree burn would be a mild sunburn.
Superficial Second-Degree Burns
A superficial second-degree burn penetrates the entire epidermal layer of skin and extends down to the next skin layer, known as the dermis. Pressure on a second-degree burn tends to produce red blanches. The burn may appear moist and pinkish in color. A superficial second-degree burn also should heal spontaneously, often within two weeks.
Deep Second-Degree Burns
A full thickness second-degree burn differs from the superficial second-degree burns, because the tissue destruction runs deeper into the dermis. This type of burn is common in an explosion. A burn of this nature will be dry and whitish in color. It will not produce red blanches with application of pressure. This type of burn may take three to four weeks to heal. There is a risk that a deep second-degree burn will leave thick or hypertrophic scars.
Third-degree burns are the most severe classification. This occurs when the burn destroyed both the epidermal and dermal layers of skin and extended down to the subcutaneous tissue. These burns may be physically depressed, charred, and often leather-like in appearance.
Ironically, a third-degree burn may not be as physically painful as less severe types, because of the amount of nerve endings that were destroyed. These burns are very serious and often require skin grafting or other reconstructive procedures.
Fourth-degree burns are one of the most severe degrees as the burn goes through both layers of the skin and underlying tissue as well as deeper tissue, possibly involving muscle and bone. There is no feeling in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed. This is the deepest and most severe of burns. They're potentially life-threatening. These burns destroy all layers of your skin, as well as your bones, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes, the degree of burn you have will and can change.
Burns are also classified into two categories: partial thickness and full thickness. Partial thickness burns include first- and second-degree burns, while full thickness burns are usually third-degree burns.
These descriptions only describe the general burn characteristics. However, you should not attempt to diagnose the severity of a burn on your own. Instead, get prompt medical attention, because this can be important in minimizing pain and promoting faster recovery. In severe burn cases, immediate medical treatment may save lives.
Many burn survivors have very significant changes in body image and self concept, leading to understandable depression. There is a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among burn injury survivors that may justify professional mental health care.
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If you are injured and believe you have been a victim of someone else’s negligence, call me at 281-929-0110 for a free initial consultation. Or if it is an emergency, please feel free to text me at 832-797-7600.
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