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Treating and Caring for Burns Safely

sunburn on neckIf you have never suffered with a burn, you may think that they are rare. The truth is that burns are one of the most commonly incurred injuries in households across the country, especially for children. The accepted characteristic of a burn is the dying of skin cells due to severe skin damage.

Many people who are burned recover without consequence. Serious burns can result in complications and, worse, death. Knowing general information about burns can help you understand how to treat them and how to heal.

Levels of Burns

There are four levels of burns, although most people are only familiar with three. Each level of burn has to do with the damage done to the skin. First-degree burns are considered minor, and fourth-degree burns the most severe.

  • First-degree burns: Skin is red but not blistered.
  • Second-degree burns: Skin is blistered and has some thickening.
  • Third-degree burns: Skin is thickened, white and has a leathery appearance.
  • Fourth-degree burns: The same symptoms as third-degree burns, but the symptoms extend into bones and tendons.

Causes of Burns

Burns can happen due to any number of causes. The most common include:

  • Hot liquids
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Fires
  • Excessive exposure to the sun

Treatment and Care of Burns

First-degree burns are superficial and require little care. They typically heal on their own in less than two weeks. If you choose to, you can treat the burn with an aloe vera gel. It is recommended that you seek medical attention if the burn is on a joint or if it covers more than three inches of skin.

Second-degree burns do not always require medical attention, but care should be taken to keep the area clean and bandaged if possible. Most second-degree burns  heal within three weeks, but can take longer if the blisters are more severe. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful, as can the application of an antibiotic cream. Like with first-degree burns, seek medical attention if the burn covers a large area of the body or the face, feet, hands, buttocks or groin.

Third-degree burns are the most severe, even though they can be the least painful. This is because nerve damage may occur. The way that a third-degree burn looks often depends on the cause. A third-degree burn always requires medical attention. No one should attempt to treat this type of burn on their own. Call emergency services immediately if you or a loved one has been burned severely. After-care instructions will be given by your doctor. This also applies to fourth-degree burns.

If you or a loved one has been injured in North Carolina, call our office. A member of our team will speak to you at no cost. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.

Posted In: Personal Injury
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