Doctor examination is mandatory to determine the impact and severity of the burns. A victim may be shifted to a burn centre if the burn covers more than 5 percent of the total body. After a thorough investigation, your doctor might order laboratory tests, X-rays or other diagnostic procedures.
The majority of the burns can be treated at home. Naturally, burns heal within a week and occasionally take two or three weeks to complete healing. Severe burns require proper medications, wound dressing, therapy and surgery. The purpose of treatment is to control pain, remove affected tissue and prevent infection.
Only certain people with extreme burns require treatment at specialized burn centres. They may need skin covers to hide big wounds. They also require emotional support and months of stringent care for intensive healing.
What are the common symptoms of burns?
Burn symptoms may vary depending on the damage caused to the skin. It may even take one or two days for proper wound formation.
- 1st-degree burn. This is the first stage of burn, also known as a minor burn. It affects only the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. This burn may cause redness and pain.
- 2nd-degree burn. This burn type affects both the epidermis and the dermis’s second layer of skin. As a result of this burn, a red or splotchy layer appears on the skin. Sometimes, this type of burn may cause scarring.
- 3rd-degree burn. This burn penetrates to the flat area of the skin. The colours of burned areas may be brown, black or white. Third-degree burns have a higher risk of destroying nerves and permanent numbness.
How are burns caused?
Burns can be caused due to:
- Fire explosion
- Hot liquid
- Hot steam
- Hot metal or other objects
- Electrical currents
- Radiation from X-rays
- Ultraviolet radiation, such as a tanning bed
- Strong chemical acids
- Paint thinner or gasoline
How to effectively prevent burns?
We can consciously prevent the risk of common burns:
- Beware of unattended stoves
- Never accompany your child while cooking
- Distance hot liquids from the children and pets
- Keep heavy electrical appliances away from water
- Make sure to check the temperature of food before serving it to a child
- Do not smoke
- Always keep a fire extinguisher near the house
- When using fire or any electrical appliances, make sure to wear protective eyewear and clothing
What are the complications of burns?
Complications of widespread burns include:
- Bacterial infection, which may aggravate to bloodstream infection (sepsis)
- Low blood volume
- Very low body temperature
- Breathing problems due to hot air inhalation
- Scars caused due to overgrowth tissue
- Bone and joint problems due to shortening and tightening of skin, muscles or tendons
What are the treatments for burns?
After first-aid treatment of burns, the following medications must be given to the victim for a speedy recovery.
- Water-oriented treatment. Ultrasound mist therapy can be used as one of the water treatments to clean and cure the wound tissue.
- Dehydration prevention. Intravenous fluids are necessary to prevent dehydration and organ failure.
- Pain and anxiety medications. Burn healing can be incredibly painful. Morphine and anti-anxiety medications are used for pain relief. They are primarily used to dress the wound.
- Burn creams and ointments. If you are not allowed in the burn centre, your medical team may select a range of topical products for wound healing, like Bacitracin and Silvadene.
- Dressings. Your medical team must be very meticulous about wound dressings. You will be transferred to a burn centre for complete treatment under critical conditions. The dressing is the best home remedy for burn treatment.
- Drugs that fight infection. In case of any sudden infection, I.V. antibiotics are necessary for prompt healing.
- Tetanus shot. Your doctor may recommend a tetanus shot after a burn injury.
Physical and occupational therapy
Physical therapy exercises are needed for large burned areas. These exercises stretch the skin so that your joints remain intact. These specific therapy exercises improve muscle strength and coordination.
Surgical and other procedures
Following procedures are done for burn treatment:
- Breathing assistance. If the burn appears on the face/neck, your throat may become fully shut. Your doctor may insert a thin tube via the trachea to balance the oxygen supply if this happens.
- Feeding tube. People with deep burns compulsorily need nutritional support. Your doctor may send food to your stomach by inserting a thin tube via your nose.
- Skin grafts. A skin graft is an advanced surgery wherein some healthy skin tissues are replaced with scar tissue caused by deep burns. This can also be done with the deceased donor skins.
- Plastic surgery. Plastic surgery improves the appearance of burn scars and wounded regions.
Burns are unplanned and accidental events. Deep burns require treatment to avoid scarring and wounds. Third-degree burns come with the most disastrous pain and can be life-threatening.
First- and second-degree burns are painful but not as painful as third-degree burns. Immediate medical attention can ease the time of healing. In case of accidental burns, swiftly consult your health care provider to lower your risk of accidental burns.