Types of Burns and How to Treat Them

You might be familiar with burns. Burns are damage that occurs in the area of ​​the skin that can be caused by heat, chemicals, electric shock, sunlight, and radiation. The most common characteristic of burns is severe skin damage that causes the death of burnt skin cells. However, did you know if the classification of burns is divided into different types and degrees of severity?

As mentioned above, burns themselves have different types and degrees of burns. Types of burns can be divided based on the cause (heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation), degree (depth of affected skin), intensity (mild to severe based on the surface area of ​​the affected skin) burns.

For the first discussion, you need to know the type or classification of burns and the causes of each type of burn.

Types of Burns and their Causes

Most burns are minor injuries that usually occur at home or when working. Often you get minor burns from hot water, an iron, or touching a hot stove. Home care is usually needed to cure and prevent other problems such as infections.

The following are the types of burns that you should know about, including:

1. Hot burns (thermal burns)

This type of burn is caused by fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids. Blisters from hot liquids are the most common burns for children and older adults.

2. Cold temperature burns

This burn is caused by exposure to the skin for wet, windy, or cold conditions.

3. Electric burns

This type of burn is a burn caused by contact with a power source or lightning.

4. Chemical burns

These burns are caused by contact with households or industrial chemicals in liquid, solid or gas forms. Natural foods like chili, which contain substances that irritate the skin, can cause a burning sensation.

5. Radiation burns

This burn is caused by the sun, tanning, sunlamps, X-rays, or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer.

6. Friction burns

This burn is caused by contact with a hard surface. The friction process usually causes abrasion or erosion and generate heat energy.

Keep in mind, burns hurt the skin layer and can also hurt other parts of the body, such as muscles, blood vessels, nerves, lungs, and eyes.

In addition to the above burn classification, you also need to know the classification of the severity of burns that require different treatment.

Severity of Burns

Burns are defined in the first, second, third or fourth degree, depending on how many layers of skin and tissue are burned.

The deeper the burns and the bigger the area burned, the more serious the burns that occur.

The following are the severity of burns that you need to know.

  • First degree burns. That is a burn that only affects the first layer of skin. This first degree burn can be cured by running cold water over the burn for several minutes until the burning sensation and pain are reduced. However, if after running cold water the burns still cause severe pain, you can take pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce the pain suffered.
  • Two types of second degree burns are still classified as burns with superficial thickness of the partial wounding the first and second layers of the skin and burns that hurt the deeper layers of the skin. This type of burn also needs to be drained with cold water to reduce burning or pain. In addition, you can also take pain relievers and wrap these burns with gauze (without cotton) that has been dropped with antibiotics to avoid infection.
  • Third degree burns (full-thickness burns) injure all layers of the skin and tissue under the skin. This burn always requires medical treatment.
  • The fourth degree of burn is a burn that extends through the skin by injuring muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. This burn always requires medical treatment.

How to Treat Burns

Following are some ways to treat burns that you can do:

  • Cool the burned area with a damp, clean, cold cloth.
  • Rinse with clean water, and wash with soap and water.
  • Apply sulfadiazine (Silvadene) cream morning and evening. (Don’t use Silvadene near the eyes.) Cover it with gauze bandages. Clean all Silvadene creams with soap and water with each one replacing them.
  • Blisters may break. Clean dead skin with sterile scissors and tweezers.
  • Flush chemicals burn with water until all the burning pain stops. Take off all contaminated clothing.
  • Oral antibiotics are usually recommended to prevent infection. If the infection develops, continue antibiotics for at least five days after all signs of infection have disappeared. Tell your doctor about any drug allergies so that the right antibiotics can be prescribed. Some oral antibiotics can cause sensitivity to sunlight, so use sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
  • Pain can be relieved with 1-2 acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4 hours or 1-2 ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 6-8 hours.
  • Patients with facial burns, evidence of potential lung involvement (for example, soot in the mouth), limb or torso burns, 20 or 30 10% burns or larger body surface burns may require special treatment that addresses a variety of needs like airway protection. and functional problems, fluid loss and hydration, pain control and other burn related problems. This special treatment is usually institutionalized with a number of specialists in trauma centers.

As much as possible, in everyday life, avoid things that can get you or your loved ones exposed to burns by exercising caution especially if the activity is related to things that can cause burns.

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