Types Of Burns: Care And Treatments According To Their Degree


There are several types of burns, and each of them requires specific care and treatments. The determining factor is the degree of injury, that is, how many layers of skin are compromised.

In most cases, burns are caused by contact with high-temperature sources. Likewise, its trigger can be exposed to the sun, electrical sources or certain chemicals. What should you know about it?

Types of burns, care and treatments

Burns are classified according to their extent and degree. In the first case, it has to do with the body surface covered by the injury. Meanwhile, the second refers to the level (layers of skin and other tissues) of affectation suffered by the person.

The types of burns, according to their extension, can be the following:

  • Minor. They are said to be minor burns when the affected surface represents up to 10% of the total body surface.
  • Moderate. Refers to cases in which the lesion occupies between 10% and 20% of the body
  • Graves. They are those injuries that exceed 20% of the body surface.

Depending on their degree, the burns can be first, second or third degree. We will talk about each one of them and how it should be treated, depending on the case.

First degree burns

Of the three types of burns, first degree burns are considered the least serious. These are lesions that affect only the outer layer of the skin, that is, the epidermis. Although they cause redness, swelling and itching in some cases, they rarely leave after-effects on the body. They are called erythema or epidermal.

Its main clinical manifestations are the following:

  • The appearance of intradermal blisters, which are microscopic.
  • Dry skin.
  • Redness of the injured area.
  • Peeling and destruction of the superficial layers of the skin.
  • Burning or severe pain
  • Increased sensitivity in the affected area.

These burns can be treated at home. The first thing to do is to remove the clothing that covers the burned area if it is not adhering to the skin. If the burn was caused by contact with a chemical, remove all clothing and cool the area with water at room temperature. Do not use ice because it could be counterproductive.

If a chemical agent caused the injury, run clean water over the injury for 10 to 15 minutes. Then it should be washed with soap and water. Blisters should not be broken.

You can apply some balm with aloe vera or petroleum jelly on the injury. If necessary, the area must be isolated using materials such as gauze, which do not adhere.

Second-degree burns

In second-degree burns, the destruction reaches the epidermis and part of the dermis (which is the layer of skin below the epidermis). They are subdivided into two types of burns:

  • Superficial, when the lesion occupies the first layer of skin and part of the second.
  • Deep, when there is damage to the middle layer of skin or the sweat or sebaceous glands.

If they are superficial, their appearance is usually uniform pink and, when applying pressure, white. There is also severe pain and tenderness in the affected area. On the other hand, if they are deeper, the appearance is usually pale. In this case, there may be insensitive areas. The healing process is slow and dark blisters appear while it lasts.

It is advisable to go to the doctor’s post. Until you get to the consultation, you should act in a similar way to that described in first degree burns:

  • Clean the area with water at room temperature.
  • Do not break the blisters.
  • If the blisters have not broken, apply antiseptic and then burn ointment.

It is advisable to use non-stick dressings to protect the affected area from rubbing or contamination. Hygiene of the lesion should be done as sterile as possible: using disposable gloves and cleaning with the products indicated by the doctor. And if you are in a lot of pain, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers.

Third-degree burns

These types of burns are considered major. They are called “full-thickness” because they destroy the entire thickness of the skin.

Its distinctive signs are the following:

  • Pale colouration
  • Whitish eschar.
  • Blackish eschar, if there is charred tissue.
  • Areas with coagulated tissues and vessels.
  • The destruction of nerve endings makes you feel painless.

First and second-degree burns usually surround these injuries. In cases of suffering them, you should call the emergency room immediately. Timely care is key to reducing the risk of deformities, disability and improper healing.

Likewise, fatal outcomes are prevented, since these injuries can cause death, especially in children or the elderly. Unlike the other cases, it is not advisable to remove clothing from the burned area, if you place water on the injury.

The person’s vital signs should be checked, and the affected body area elevated. It is advisable to wrap the burned area with a clean sheet while waiting for professional assistance.

All types of burns require treatment

Regardless of the type of burn, it is important to access a treatment according to the case. With proper management, first and second graders have a good prognosis. They rarely leave any kind of scar.

Regarding severe burns, it must be considered that they are a medical emergency that may require several types of clinical approach. Therefore, there is no waiting to seek care.

Debbie Lentz

Debbie Lentz

Accomplished Global Supply Chain executive with significant experience in the consumer products and retail industries with large brand name firms in the public and private sectors. Strategic and operational, drives change and creates efficiencies through integration of end to end process improvement focused on enhancing the customer experience and fostering company growth. Collaborative leader with high integrity who builds talented, results-oriented teams.

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