Orange County, CA 2nd Degree Burn Treatment

Table of Contents

What is a 2nd Degree Burn?

Unlike with a superficial burn or a 1st-degree burn, a 2nd degree burn is not simply caused by contact with a hot surface or mild sunburn. When scalding hot liquid gets poured on an individual, even in small amounts, or when the skin comes in contact with a hot surface or steam, sometimes both the epidermis and the dermis are damaged. The dermis is the layer of living tissue beneath the epidermis, and when it becomes damaged the symptoms are more severe. When both are damaged, you have a second-degree burn which may require treatment.

nurse treating a 2nd degree burn

Symptoms of 2nd Degree Burns

Also known as a “partial thickness burn”, a 2nd degree burn causes pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. These burns often have a wet, shiny look to them, and can be more serious when they occur in certain sensitive areas. Larger second-degree burns can cause shock in a person, and infections can occur, as the skin covering the burn site is more vulnerable to breach from pathogens. 

What Causes 2nd Degree Burns?

All burns are caused by exposure to various kinds of heat or destructive chemicals. Hot surfaces, fire, electricity, acid, or scalding hot liquids or gasses can all cause a second-degree burn. Radiation exposure can also, including sunburn. Burns can also happen as a result of abuse.

Risk Factors Involved With 2nd Degree Burns

Occupations with exposure to fire, dangerous chemicals, scalding liquids, etc.

Alcohol/drug abuse

Physical or Mental Illness

Sex (Male)

Advanced age

Complications From 2nd Degree Burns

Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion can occur when the body’s internal temperature rises past 98.6°F. After this point, a number of troubling symptoms appear, including:

  • Extreme tiredness/low energy
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Nausea
  • Rapid Pulse
  • Muscle Pain
  • Irritability
  • Headache/Dizziness

When you notice an individual experiencing these symptoms, it is imperative to get them to a cool, quiet place, where they can relax and cool off. If for some reason the individual’s temperature continues to climb, he or she will be at risk of heat stroke. An individual experiencing heat stroke should be taken to the ER immediately. Excessive heat causes brain damage if not addressed, and can be fatal.

Infection

Second-degree burns cause serious damage to the dermis and epidermis, and thus compromise the skin’s ability to shield the body from infection. Treatment should include some means of mitigating infection, and reducing further risk of one.

Shock

A large enough burn can send the victim into shock. Shock is a condition where the body needs more oxygen, and is not getting it. Children stand a greater risk of shock when burned. If you believe that an individual is experiencing shock, dial 911 and seek help. Try to get the person comfortable and stable. Elevate the feet above the heart if possible, and (if you have training) perform CPR if the individual is struggling to breathe.

Scarring

Scars and blisters are normally present with any second-degree burn. The important concern is long-term damage. In most cases, a second-degree burn will heal within a few weeks, although it may leave behind some scars or discoloration. Eventually these should go away. In severe cases, a skin graft may be required to replace skin that has been damaged to the point that it cannot heal on its own. In such cases, scars may be more prominent.

Psychological Effects

Second-degree burns can cause psychological trauma, particularly in children. If you believe that trauma is a concern with your situation, ask your physician what mental health resources may be available for burn victims. If the burn comes as a result of abuse, counseling should be foremost on the mind of the attending physician.

How To Prevent 2nd Degree Burns

The best way to avoid burns is to employ general safety measures at home and in the workplace. In the event of a fire, you will do well to have an escape plan. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are effective early warning systems to help you start moving before the fire takes over.

Basic safety training enables your staff (or family) to prepare for the use of dangerous tools and materials. Also, never underestimate common sense when striving to avoid various accidents that result in burns. Mishandling dangerous materials can put your company or family in danger, and get you fired. It’s not a time for goofing around, or taking unnecessary chances.

Also – wear sunblock. Dermatologists recommend a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 for avoiding skin cancer or sunburn. Sunburn can be considered a first or second-degree burn. 

How to Diagnose a Burn

A second-degree burn will have blisters and scarring. They are often quite painful. A trip to the ER or urgent care clinic is often necessary to get the injury under control. Once there, your attending physician will conduct an examination and run the necessary tests to determine exactly how much damage has been done. 

Treatment For 2nd Degree Burns (Pain and healing)

The moment after you experience a second-degree burn, try to get the burn site under cool water. Do not use cold water, as this can damage the tissue further. Try not to touch the burn site with anything. 

Your ER doctor will provide some combination of pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids to help the burn site to recover, along with topical ointment and wound dressing. There is an excellent chance that you will need to dress your wound daily, each time coating the burn site with antibiotic ointment or steroidal cream. 

Eventually, you will no longer have to dress the burn site. However, the discoloration may persist for some time. You will need to follow up with your primary care physician to make sure that he or she is fully aware of the situation, and that your care regimen is not interfering with your other health goals. 

For Orange County, CA 2nd Degree Burn Treatment Call Wound Care OC

At Wound Care OC, we have a team of dedicated wound specialists who know exactly how to treat burns of any severity. With extensive experience handling second-degree burns, we are familiar with all of the different treatment options that are available, and know just how to coach you in taking care of your own wound as well. Whether your wound is serious and covers a large portion of your skin, or if it is less significant, we’ve got you covered. Call our clinic in Santa Ana, CA today to schedule an appointment. Let us give you the care you need to get back to 100%.

Wound care specialist Dr. Faried Banimahd

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