What are burns?

Almost every one has suffered from burns including the old and the young. Painful blisters and wounds often proceed after a few hours or days. The maner in which you handle the burn is very important and you should always strive to do the right thing.
In simple terms, a burn is an injury to our skin and other tissues.

How do people get burnt? 
Burns are commonly caused by
  • Hot oil
  • Hot water
  • Hot materials/objects such as an iron, a pot etc
  • Fire
  • Radiation
  • Friction
  • Ice cold substances
  • Electrical burns
  • Burns from chemicals
Young girls and women easily get burnt because they are exposed to hot objects when doing house hold chores and cooking.

How are burns classified?
In order to be able to take care of burns, it is important to know the type of burn. Burns can occur on the surface of the skin as well as internally. This post will focus on burns on the skin. Burns are classified according to how deep they damage the layers of the skin. Therefore, burns can either be first, second or third degree.
First degree burns/small second degree burns can usually be handled at home while large second and third degree burns will need medical attention.

First degree burns
As the name implies, this type of burn is superficial and affects only the outer layer of skin (epidermis)
This type of burn is usually;
  • Red (if you are light skinned)
  • Painful
  • Dry and
  • It has no blisters. 

    Second-degree (partial thickness) burns.
    Second-degree or partial thickness burns usually involve the epidermis and dermis. Its characteristics are as follows:
    • Blisters appear, and is usually filled with fluid
    • The site is Red (if you are light skinned)
    • It will swell and the surrounding skin might be edematous
    • It will be painful

    Third-degree (full thickness) burns 
    • The epidermis, dermis and part of the subcutaneous tissue is destroyed
    • It will appear white or charred
    • It might not be that painful because nerve endings that sense pain have been damaged as well.

    Fourth degree burns
    In addition to destroying the skin, a fourth degree burn will destroy the muscles, tendons and bones. The Person concerned will not feel any pain because the nerve endings have been destroyed completely.

    First degree burns and some 2nd degree burns can be managed at home while third and fourth degree burns require immediate attention. 

    The next post will explain what to do immediately after you or someone gets burnt and the common mistakes to avoid when one gets burnt.

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