A burn injury can be one of the most traumatic personal injuries a person can suffer. The monetary, mental and physical costs of recovering from a burn injury are staggering. A burn injury can require months, sometimes years of hospitalization, doctors visits, physical therapy and often even require extensive counseling to overcome the mental trauma sustained from suffering a burn injury
Burn injuries often happen in industrial accidents, construction accidents or through the negligence of others. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Fire Administration, approximately one million people per year suffer burn injuries in the United States, resulting in approximately 7,000 deaths. An average of 4,400 people die and 25,100 are injured as a result of fire, with the remainder of burn injuries and fatalities resulting from motor vehicle and aircraft crashes, contact with electricity, chemicals or hot liquids and substances, and other sources of burn injury. Fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
Common burn injuries:
- Thermal burns are caused by contact with intense heat, such as flames, steam, scalding liquids, hot metals and other sources of heat.
- Radiation burns are caused by contact with nuclear radiation (X-rays, etc.) or ultraviolet rays such as from sunlight or tanning beds.
- Chemical burns are caused by contact with caustic chemicals, such as acids, alkalis, detergents or solvents.
- Electrical Burns are caused by electric current passing through the body.
Severities of burns:
First Degree Burn:
First Degree Burn damages only the outer layer of skin, or epidermis. A sunburn is typically a first degree burn. A superficial burn is usually red and turns white if you press on it. A first degree burn heals by itself in three to six days. Hospitalization is required only if fever, dehydration (not enough fluid in the body) or uncontrollable pain develops.
Second Degree Burn:
Second Degree Burn involves the entire epidermis, the top layer of the skin, and some portion of the dermis, the second layer of the skin. Second degree burns can cause blistering, and deep second degree burns are dry and may appear ivory or pearly white. A skin graft is usually recommended for deep second degree burns.
Third Degree Burn:
Third Degree Burn destroys the epidermis, first layer of the skin, and dermis, second layer of the skin. Third degree burns are dry, with a dark brown or leathery appearance. Most third degree burns larger than 3 centimeters in diameter are best treated with removal of dead tissue, immediate skin grafting, and long-term use of compression garments to minimize scarring.
Severe burns are a devastating injury, both physically and emotionally. Persons with severe burns may be left with permanent physical disabilities: loss of mobility, disfigurement, scarring, infection, muscle or tissue damage, nerve damage, respiratory system damage, loss of a limb, and permanent mental disabilities: nightmares or flashbacks from the traumatizing event and anguish from loss of a friend or family member. Severe burn injuries often necessitate long-term medical care, nursing care, physical therapy, and psychological care