The severity of a burn depends on the amount of tissue affected and the depth of the injury, which is described as first, second, or third degree.

First-Degree Burn First-degree burns are the least severe. The burned skin becomes red, painful, very sensitive to the touch, and moist or swollen. The burned area whitens (blanches) when lightly touched, but no blisters develop.

Second-Degree Burn Second-degree burns cause deeper damage. The skin blisters. The base of the blisters may be red or whitish and filled with a clear, thick fluid. The burn is painfully sensitive to the touch and may blanch when touched.

Third-Degree: Burn Third-degree burns cause the deepest damage. The surface of the burn may be white and soft or black, charred, and leathery. Because the burned area may be pale, it can be mistaken for normal skin in light-skinned people, but it doesnt blanch when touched. Damaged red blood cells in the injured area may make the burn bright red. Occasionally, the burned area blisters, and hairs in the burn can easily be pulled from their roots. The burned area has no feeling when touched. Generally, third-degree burns arent painful, because the nerve endings in the skin have been destroyed.

Distinguishing between deep second-degree burns and third-degree burns is difficult until days after the injury.

Diagnosis Healing depends on the depth and location of the burn. In superficial burns (first-degree and superficial second-degree burns), the dead layers of skin slough [peel] off, and the top layer of skin (epidermis) re grows to cover the layers below. A new layer of epidermis can grow quickly from the base of a superficial burn with little or no scarring. These burns dont destroy the deeper layer of skin (dermis), which cant regenerate. Deep burns injure the dermis.

A new layer of epidermis grows slowly from the edges of the burned area and from any remnants of the epidermis in the burned area. Consequently, healing is very slow and scarring is considerable. The burned area also tends to contract, distorting the skin and interfering with its functioning. Mild burns of the esophagus, stomach, and lungs generally heal without problems. More severe burns, however, can lead to scarring and narrowing, called contractures. Scarring can block the passage of food in the esophagus and prevent the normal transfer of oxygen from the air to blood in the lungs.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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