Although the likelihood of receiving a burn is decreasing because of burn education and awareness, more than one million people suffer from burns every year, and more than 10,000 die. Burn injuries are among the most painful injuries because of the damage they cause to the skin and because of the length of time they take to heal. Many burn injuries never heal; the victim suffers from scarring, pain and impaired movement throughout life. Injury lawyers can help answer questions about burn injuries, and will be able to tell you if you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills and suffering.
Burn injuries are caused by exposure to sources such as:
- Kitchen appliances
- Work tools (welding torches, irons, forges, etc.)
- Scalding liquids
- Snow (frostbite)
- Dry ice, liquid nitrogen and helium, canned air
- Household or industrial cleaners such as bleach
- Metal cleaners
- Construction materials such as concrete mix
- Power cords
- Electric appliances
- Wall sockets
- Downed or faulty power lines
- UV rays from the sun
- Cancer treatment radiation
- Thermal radiation from nuclear warfare
- Falling and sliding on pavement or road surface
- Carpet burns
- Work tools such as sanding belts
Burn injuries are measured in severity by how many layers of skin they damage. First-degree burns damage the first layer of skin, and are considered less serious that second- and third-degree burns. Second-degree burns damage the first and second layers of the skin. Third-degree burns damage the first, second and third layers of the skin. Fourth-degree burns damage all three layers of skin, the tissue underneath, as well as muscles, nerves and bones.
Treatment for each type of burn varies. For first-degree burns, run cool water over the burn for several minutes. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen for swelling and pain. Even first-degree burns can develop infections. Signs of infections in a burn include pain, swelling, redness, oozing, fever and chills. All burns should receive medical attention if they develop infections.
For second-degree burns, run cool water over the burn for several minutes and elevate the burned part above the heart, if possible. Do not break blisters or remove clothing that is stuck to the burn. Seek medical treatment to prevent infection.
For third- and fourth-degree burns, immediately seek medical attention. Run cool water over the skin and check the person’s vital signs to make sure he or she is breathing and alert.