Kinds of burns: Points you ought to know

Burn injuries can happen anywhere –in your kitchen, work place, at roads etc. They could be a minor or a major burn. Minor burns can be treated at homes. There are many kinds of burns caused by heat, cold temperature, electricity, chemicals, radiation and friction burns.


The skin has three layers – outer layer called epidermis, the middle layer called dermis and the deeper layer called hypodermis (subcutaneous tissue). Epidermis is the upper water proof layer and dermis consists of connective tissues, hair follicles and sweat glands. The deepest layer hypodermis is made of fat and connective tissue.




Depending on the extent to which the skin is injured, burns are classified into three types. First degree burns affect only the epidermis. They cause pain, redness and swelling. Second degree burns affect epidermis and part of dermis causing blisters along with pain, redness and swelling. Third degree burns affect all the three layers of skin extending deeper into the tissues.


First degree burns are the least serious and third degree burns are very serious. Third degree burns might affect the layer of fat, nerves, muscles and bones. As lots of tissues get destroyed, healing becomes very slow and often results in scars.


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A wound caused by a hot liquid to the skin is called a scald. Damage to the skin caused by a hot object is called a contact burn. Examples of such burns are electrical iron, hot utensils etc. Contact with flammable gases or liquids causes chemical burns. Friction burns results when skin gets rubbed hard against a surface (say a rope, carpet, wooden surface etc). Friction between the skin and the surface generates some heat and results in skin burn.


For treating minor burns, cool water could be run over the affected area if the skin is unbroken. Application of anti inflammatory cream also helps. One must avoid using ice water as it would damage the tissues. In case someone is on fire, one must wrap the person with thick material to put off the flame and take him to hospital immediately.


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