Types Of Burn Wounds And How To Treat Them
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What Are Burns?
Burns are a common injury in most homes. They can occur when cooking or grilling – or when least expected. Here are some other ways people get burned:
- Hot liquids
- Fire (matches, lighters)
- The sun
A burn can result in severe damage to the skin, killing the skin cells that have been affected.
For most people burn recovery is quick and easy without any serious consequence to body or health. Severe burns, on the other hand, can result in death. For these burns, emergency medical care is crucial and can help prevent serious, life-threatening complications. If you have experienced a serious burn wound and need treatment in Orange County, CA please call us now to schedule a fast appointment.
Types Of Burn Wounds
There are 4 different types of burns, called “burn levels”. They are as follows: first-degree, second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree. Each degree of burn increases its severity and the damage it does to skin. A first degree burn is minor; a second degree is more serious; a third degree burn is severe; and a fourth-degree burn is even more-so severe.
Let’s talk in-depth about the characteristics of each burn level.
- A first-degree burn will result in red skin, without the presence of blisters.
- A second-degree burn will result in the skin blistering and thickening.
- A third-degree burn will result in the skin becoming thick and having a white, leathery appearance.
- A fourth-degree burn penetrates the skin’s layers and the tissue underneath. This type of burn may also penetrate muscle and bone. Because fourth-degree burns destroy nerve endings, the area of the burn will be unfeeling.
First Degree Burns
These burns cause the least amount of skin damage; and are also known as “superficial burns”. First-degree burns are marked by redness, inflammation and minor pain. As the skin begins to heal you may notice dryness and peeling. These burns usually heal within a week and don’t result in scarring.
Second Degree Burns
These burns are more serious than first-degree burns. A second-degree burn goes beyond the top layer of skin and causes blisters, swelling, redness and pain. These burns typically heal in 2 to 3 weeks and don’t result in scarring. Sometimes second-degree burns will change the skin’s color.
Third Degree Burns
Third and fourth-degree burns are the most severe. These burns should never be healed at home; always call a doctor. These burns go through every layer of skin and may affect the nerves as well. Third-degree burns can cause the skin to:
- Become dark brown in color.
- Take on a leathery appearance.
- Become waxy or white in color.
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How To Treat Burn Wounds
Most first-degree burns can be treated at home. Here are some tips:
- Submerge the wound in a bowl of cool water.
- Use cool water – not ice. Ice can cause damage.
- For pain relief use acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Use Aloe Vera to soothe the wound.
- Don’t use cotton balls to apply cream – a clean finger is the perfect tool.
A second-degree burn will result in the skin blistering. It is very important to keep the wound clean, dry and properly bandaged in order to protect against infection. Here are some tips for treating the wound:
- Use cool water and run the wound underwater for at least 15 minutes.
- For pain use acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Use an antibiotic cream on the blisters. Don’t apply with a cotton ball; use a q-tip or clean finger.
- Don’t pick-at or pop blisters.
See a doctor if the second-degree burn is on your:
Third-degree burns should only be treated by a doctor or health professional. These wounds may require surgery to get rid of damaged tissue, replace skin and help the flow of blood. Other ways surgery will help with a third-degree burn: to prevent infection, to improve scarring, to decrease inflammation and improve the overall appearance and health of skin. Caring for a third-degree burn is extremely crucial and should be taken seriously.
Types Of Ointments For Burn Wounds
For minor burns, you can use ointments and clean water to relieve pain, stop swelling and prevent scarring. Burn creams that contain topical anesthetic are especially helpful. Some creams we recommend are:
- Aloe Vera or Alocane (in stores)
- Manuka honey
- Creams containing lidocaine
- Burn relief creams, sprays and gels
Home Remedies For Burn Wounds
At-home wound care is possible for most first-degree and second-degree burns, but third-degree burns require a doctor’s insight. Here are some at-home remedies that may be useful:
- Cool water. Run the wound through cool water for 10, 15 minutes at a time. Hint: don’t use ice.
- Cool compress. This will reduce pain and swelling.
- Antibiotic ointment. Use Neosporin or bacitracin to prevent infection by applying the ointment; next dress the wound with a sterile dressing like cling film.
- Aloe Vera. This can be taken directly from the leaf of a plant or it could be store bought. Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory and stops the growth of bacteria, thus preventing your wound from getting infected.
- Honey. Use honey on the wound, topically. It has much the same properties as Aloe Vera, including anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. *Use only on mild, superficial burns.
There are also various old wives tales floating around in the world of burn protection. These remedies not only don’t work, they may be detrimental to your wound. Here are some “cures” to leave alone:
- Egg whites
Contact Us Today For Burn Treatment In Orange County, CA
Dr. Faried Banimahd is a board-certified physician specializing in emergency medicine, wound care, and pain management. Our team will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs and unique conditions. Our clinic includes highly trained and experienced physicians, registered nurses, and certified medical staff who work together to provide you with the highest standards of wound care treatments.