Burn is one of the common types of injuries in both household and workplace. Burn is the extent of the injury, the skin bears due to the incident. On one hand, a mild skin burn can be effectively treated at home, severe burn injuries are classified as a medical emergency and the patient should be taken to the nearest hospital with adequate measures to handle the situation. Here we present the types of burn along with their treatment approaches.
There are 4 basic types of burn, namely the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree burn. As the name indicates, the 1st-degree burn is the least causing injury and 4th-degree is the most severe one. Except for 1st-degree burn rest, all are always a medical emergency. The 1st-degree burn, too, is recommended to seek a doctor’s opinion, if required.
First-degree burns – This is often called the ‘superficial’ burns as it causes damage to only the external skin layer. It is characterized by redness, swelling, inflammation, pain in the local areas. As it cures, the uppermost skin peels off. It usually takes about a week to 10 days to heal with a home remedy by using cold water, aloe vera gel, and some over-the-counter ointments. It requires medical attention only if the affected area is more than 3-5 inches, or if it is in a sensitive area such as spine, shoulder, knee, foot, elbow etc.
Second-degree burn – The second-degree burn causes damage beyond the top skin layers. It leads to skin blisters along with being red and sore and often pops open to release wet, thick tissue. Being moist in nature, these wounds require proper medical attention. It usually takes about 3 to 6 weeks to heal and often leaves scarring as well. In case the affected site is sensitive, such as the face, groin, hands, feet etc. A minor procedure of skin grafting might be needed as well for a complete recovery.
Third-degree burns – This results in severe damage to every layer of the skin. Even though logically, it seems that a third-degree burn must be severely painful, in reality, one might not feel pain at all. It happens in case the burn penetrates through the nerves as well. It gives rise to waxy, leathery textured skin in white to dark brown color. It requires immediate medical attention and there is no certain timeline for healing either. The treatment procedure mostly includes surgeries as well.
Fourth-degree burn – A more severe burn than a third degree is called the fourth-degree burn which has all the symptoms of the previous degree but the damage extends to the bones. It is extremely challenging to treat it and has no certain timeline or assurance on the extent of recovery.
Unless the burn is due to some minor oil spattering or mild sunburn, it is always recommended to treat it as a medical emergency to ensure it doesn’t have any long-term complications associated with it.