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Burn Injuries

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported in the United States every year. Burn injuries can be incredibly painful and those who suffer them often face a lifetime of serious healthcare problems. Burns can be many different severities. cSeveral factors are used to determine the severity of a burn, including the size, depth of a burn, the location of the burn, and the patient's age.

First-Degree Burns

First degree burns are very sensitive to the touch. They are red in color and the skin will turn whitish when a slight pressure is applied to the burned area. First degree burns only involve minimal tissue damage to the epidermis, the surface area of the skin. A sunburn is an example of a first degree burn.

Second-Degree Burns

Second degree burns affect the outer layer of skin and the underlying layer, the dermis. They cause pain, swelling, redness and sometimes blisters. These burns can often affect hair follicles and sweat glands. If these kinds of burns are not properly treated, decreased blood flow in the tissue can result in the second degree burn becoming a third degree burn.

Third-Degree Burns

Third degree burns affect the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. These kinds of burns cause charring of the skin. The skin turns a translucent white color and coagulated vessels become visible just below the surface of the skin. The areas of the skin that are burned may become numb and the person may complain of pain. The healing process from third degree burns is very slow. This is because the skin structures and tissues are often destroyed. Scarring is common after third degree burns heal.

Smoke Inhalation

Another kind of injury that often accompanies burn injuries is smoke inhalation. Smoke intoxication can often be hidden by other more visible injuries. As a result, these injuries often go untreated for extended periods of time. In fact, patients are often not treated for these injuries until they collapse from burning and scarring in their throats and lungs. 60-80% of burn related fatalities occur as a result of smoke inhalation.

People can also suffer burns from sources other than smoke. Some other kinds of burns are:

  • Scald burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Electrical burns
  • Explosion related burns

These sources also cause first, second, and third degree burns. Chemical burns may also sometimes involve inhalation injuries.

If you have suffered any kind of burn in an accident caused by a third party, you may wish to speak to a personal injury lawyer. The Law Offices of Allan S. Field is a plaintiff's personal injury law firm in San Diego, California. You may contact the firm to make sure that your legal rights are protected if you have been the victim of a burn injury.