Orange County, CA Third Degree Burn Treatment
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What Is A Third Degree Burn?
Also known as a full-thickness burn, a third-degree burn is a severe burn in which the outer and inner layers of skin are destroyed, resulting in damage to the fatty layer beneath the skin. This can happen when the exposing element is so hot that it chars or incinerates the skin, turning it black, white, or brown. This can be caused by exposure to scalding hot liquid, extended contact with hot surfaces, or exposure to fire, electricity, or certain chemicals.
You can learn about other types of burns and treatments in this article.
Symptoms of Third Degree Burns
After a third-degree burn, skin may appear black, white, brown, or yellow. Because these burns destroy the dermis, the nerve cells in the skin are often dead. This means that the burns themselves often don’t normally cause pain. The burn site is swollen, and the remaining skin is dry and leathery.
Causes of Third Degree Burns?
Third-degree burns occur as a result of exposure to fire, strong chemicals or electricity, very hot surfaces, or scalding liquids or gasses. Exposure to radiation (including sunburn) can also cause a severe burn. Burns can also happen as a result of abuse. Explosions or combat-related trauma can also cause severe burns.
Risk Factos With Third Degree Burns
Risk factors for burns of all kinds include:
- Occupations with exposure to fire, dangerous chemicals, scalding liquids, etc.
- Alcohol/drug abuse
- Physical or Mental Illness
- Advanced age
- Sex (Male)
Complications With Third Degree Burns
Third-degree burns have a number of potential complications if not handled properly. That’s why when you see someone with a third-degree burn, help that person get to the hospital immediately, regardless how much of the body is burned. The potential complications are serious, so the sooner your ER doctor can get the patient under observation, the much better chance they stand of avoiding some of these problems. Children stand a greater chance of developing long term complications, so treating them with urgency is critical.
Third-degree burns destroy the dermis and epidermis, thus exposing the underlying fatty layer to open air. With no barrier to prevent infection, the patient can contract an infection even in areas away from the burn site.
Severe burns draw a lot of water from the body, as they send water to the burned tissue to repair and protect itself. Much of this moisture evaporates.
Severe skin damage can send the victim into shock. Shock occurs when the body needs more oxygen, yet is not getting it. Children in particular stand a greater risk of shock when experiencing a severe burn. If you believe an individual to be experiencing shock, dial 911 and seek help. Assist the person in lying down and catching their breath. Keep the burn site elevated above the head if possible, and if the individual is struggling to breathe, perform CPR (if you have training).
Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
Heat exhaustion is a condition that arises when a burn victim’s body temperature rises above normal (98.6°F). As the temperature continues to rise, a number of complicating symptoms emerge:
- Extreme tiredness/low energy
- Rapid Pulse
- Muscle Pain
If you ever see an individual experiencing these symptoms, do your best to help them get into a cool, quiet place. The point of this is to lower their internal core temperature. If the individual’s temperature continues to rise, he or she will be at risk of heat stroke. If the burn victim begins to experience heat stroke, help them get to the ER immediately. Exposure to high temperatures can eventually cause brain damage if not addressed. It can also be fatal.
Without surgery, damage from a third-degree burn is so severe that scars will last indefinitely, and skin contracture occurs. (Skin contracture is a condition in which the remaining skin is stretched so tight to cover the burn site that some joints experience a loss of function.) There is typically no timetable for the healing of scars from this type of burn.
Third-degree burns can cause psychological trauma. Children are especially vulnerable. If the victim in question is suffering from PTSD, depression, addiction, anxiety, or other issues, ask your physician what mental health resources are available. If trauma is not handled correctly, it can cause more harm than the burn itself, especially if the burn is a result of abuse. Grief counseling is very helpful, as well as traditional talk therapies.
Sepsis, hypovolemia, blood loss, hypothermia, long-term mobility issues, and lung damage from smoke inhalation are all concerns when recovering from a third-degree burn. A trip to the emergency room is the victim’s best chance for avoiding these complications.
How To Prevent Third Degree Burns
Avoiding burns begins with the application of general safety measures in the home and at work. Third-degree burns happen often when a person is exposed to fire, so having a specific plan of escape makes a big difference when a fire occurs. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will make sure that you are awake in time to get to your loved ones and get them out safely. Grounded electrical sockets and fire extinguishers are other effective measures for fire safety.
Before you use dangerous tools or materials at work, be sure to complete all the required training. At home you will not have mandatory training, but you will have access to materials that enable you to use your products safely. Handle all hot items and liquids with extreme care, as a mishap can result in a fire. For children, most serious burns occur when very hot items are left within their reach. Always plan the use of hot surfaces or materials with them in mind.
How To Diagnose Third Degree Burns
If you’ve suffered a 3rd-degree burn, you probably know that you need medical attention, assuming you are conscious. Ironically, because of the nerve damage, third-degree burns don’t cause as much pain. If the skin has extreme discoloration, a lack of feeling, and severely dry and leathery texture, then you need to go to the ER. Once there, the attending physician will examine the burn site and diagnose it.
How To Treat Third Degree Burns
Third-degree burns require a combination of treatment modalities which address different concerns. Initially, the victim should be removed to a safe, secure location where they can relax and breathe, and thus avoid shock. Cool (not cold) water can be applied to the burn site; the victim should stay hydrated as well, while awaiting emergency personnel.
At the hospital, the attending physician will likely use an antibiotic IV drip to keep the patient hydrated and guard against infection. Once the patient is stable, the physician will evaluate how to protect the burn site, either by enabling the skin to recover, or by replacing it with a skin graft or synthetic skin. Wound dressing measures are also used. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to control respective symptoms. Ongoing treatment measures are employed to ensure the best possible recovery occurs.
[Note: Patients are often referred to clinics that specialize in wound care, as they have the personnel and resources to help the patient achieve the best prognosis.]
Call Wound Care OC for the best Third-Degree Burn Treatment in Orange County
Wound Care OC has extensive experience treating victims of all kinds of burns, and have all the products we need to treat yours. If you are currently suffering from a mild burn, don’t take it lightly. Make sure it is properly diagnosed and dressed. Get the proper antibiotic protection to avoid risk of infection. And most importantly, get the guidance of a team of wound care professionals, who know exactly how to help you make a complete recovery. Call us or stop by today, and we would be happy to make an appointment with you to evaluate your healthcare needs.