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Burn Injury

Burn injuries are among the most painful of injuries and can take a long time for recuperation and rehabilitation. Although a burn injury can be non-life-threatening, depending on the severity of the injury, the damage caused by the burn accident can be permanent and require years for recovery. Unfortunately, not everyone involved in a burn accident, which includes chemical burns and electrical burns, survives.

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Burn Accident

According to the National Institutes for Health (nlm.nih.gov), a burn is damage to the body's tissue that is caused by heat, chemicals, sunlight, electricity or radiation. Burn injuries can cause swelling, blistering, scarring, shock and death. They can also cause serious or fatal infections.

The National Institutes for Health notes that approximately 4,500 burn fatalities occur annually in the US. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that approximately 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention every year, approximately 50,000 burn injuries require hospitalization and approximately 20,000 are major burns that involve at least 25 percent of the total body surface. In addition to the 4,500 people who die from their burn injuries, approximately 10,000 die every year from burn-related infections.

Not everyone who dies in a fire accident dies from burn injuries. Some people succumb to smoke inhalation and/or toxic fumes. Furthermore, airways and lungs can be damaged as a result of inhaling hot fumes and gases.

Of all catastrophic injuries, burns are among the most expensive injuries to treat. For instance, an extensive burn injury covering 30 percent of total body area can require extended care in a burn unit at a major medical facility and involve a skin graft as treatment.

Types of Burn Injury

Thermal Burns:

This is the most common of burn injuries and occurs from heat or fire, such as scalding from hot liquids (such as grease and boiling water), open flames, hot objects, and flash burn injuries (explosions).

Electrical Burns:

Electrical burns occur when an electrical current travels through the body and meets resistance in the body's tissues, causing a burn injury in several areas, including the points of entry and exit on the skin, as well as the muscles and tissue through which the current passes. Electrical burns can heat up to 5,000 degrees Celsius. Damage to the bones, blood vessels and nerves can also occur, and a fatal heart attack may also result if the electrical current passes through the center of the body.

Unlike other burn injuries, electrical burns may not look severe on the outside though significant internal damage may have occurred.

Chemical Burns:

Chemical burns are often severe and the longer the exposure, the more severe the injury will be. They generally result from exposure to strong acids or alkaloids or other corrosive materials such as industrial cleaners used in the workplace (acidic rust removers and cleaning agents, basic drain cleaners, etc.) and various chemicals used in laboratory and manufacturing workplaces. These materials eat away or "burn" skin and deeper tissue.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) system uses a diagram of symbols and numbers to indicate the degree of hazard associated with a particular chemical or material.

Burn Injury Classification

Burn injuries are classified as superficial, partial thickness and full thickness, depending on how deeply the tissue is affected. Previously, they were classified as first degree, second degree or third degree burns.

Superficial—First degree burns are superficial burns to the first layer of skin (epidermis) that cause redness, swelling and minor pain, such as a sunburn. They usually heal on their own and do not cause permanent damage.

Partial Thickness—Second degree burns cause damage to two layers of the skin, from the epidermis to the dermis. Second-degree burns usually don't require surgery but scarring may result. Some victims opt for skin grafting if they have suffered extensive injuries. Second-degree burns can cause pain, sensitivity, redness and blisters.

Full Thickness—Third degree burns are extremely serious. All layers of skin are affected, as well as underlying tissue, producing a brown or black leathery appearance. They require surgical skin grafting or transplantation. Skin grafting is usually required.

Fourth-Degree burns extend into the muscle beneath the skin (as classified by the Journal of the American Medical Association).

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LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Study Shows Childhood Burn Injury Can Lead to Higher Risk of Health Complications
Study Shows Childhood Burn Injury Can Lead to Higher Risk of Health Complications
February 8, 2012
Toronto, ON A study that was published recently by The Lancet has found that children who have sustained a burn injury that covers 60 percent or more of their total body surface area (TBSA) are at a much higher risk of experiencing severe complications or death, according to Medical News Today [READ MORE]

Burn Injury Victim with New Face Soon to Be Home
Burn Injury Victim with New Face Soon to Be Home
May 14, 2011
Boston, MA Dallas Wiens suffered a horrific burn injury in 2008 when he came into contact with a high-voltage power line while helping to paint the exterior of his church. The young father, literally, lost his face. Various images on the Internet and video posted on YouTube show a faceless Wiens without eyes, nose, lips or eyebrows—just a swath of skin where his face used to be and his signature goatee that survived [READ MORE]

A Burn Injury Has Varied Causes
A Burn Injury Has Varied Causes
February 20, 2011
Palm Beach, FL A burn injury is most often associated with a fire. However, there are numerous other types of injuries from other sources of heat that can negatively impact the skin in much the same way as open flame. Electrical burns, for example, either from a live wire carrying high voltage, to a lightning strike [READ MORE]



READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Eurell thomas
on
I used just for men beard and mustache dye and I got chemical burns on my face

Posted by
Anonymous
on
LAST WEEK I WAS COOKING AND LEFT CAN OF PAM SPRAY ON TOP OFF STOVE .ALL OF A . SUDDEN A BIG EXPLOSION GAS BALL OF FIRE THREW ME TO THEOTHERSIDE OF ROOM.MY WHOLE LEFT ARM HAD GOTTEN 3rd and 2nd degree burns and minor burns all over by body.worse pain ever.I ran outside got hose put ball of fire out . That was quickly spreading.w err my to emergency err envy room and burn center.it looks awful but I'm going to live just we with one arm totally scarred for life.it scared the shit out of me.i thought wow this . Is , how I'm going to die. I didn't butnow I Knpw what it feels like in hell.

Posted by
Texas
on
3rd Degree Burn to the upper right thigh area. Full Thickness will require cosmetic procedure to correct. Extreme Pain and discomfort from the recovery room till this time. Hillcrest staff and wound care specialist referred to the burn as a "allergic reaction to the tape placed on the grounding pad" Referred to G.P. by Hillcrest wound care two days post op. no follow -up and general denial by Surgeon and Hillcrest as to the nature and severity of the burn.

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