Burns

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Overview

Burns can be minor medical problems or life-threatening emergencies. Many people die each year from fire-related burn injuries. Electricity and chemicals also cause severe injuries. Scalding liquids are the most common cause of burns in children. Burns are classified into minor and major burns, depending on the depth of the burn and the extent of the burn.

Causes

There are a number of things that can cause burns. Some of them are listed below:

  • Fire
  • Hot liquid
  • Steam
  • Hot metal
  • Electric current
  • Radiation
  • Sunlight
  • Strong chemicals

Symptoms

Burns don’t affect the skin uniformly, so a single injury can reach varying depths. Distinguishing a minor burn from a more serious burn involves determining the extent of tissue damage.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of burn injuries:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Intense pain (superficial burns) or numbness (deep burns)
  • Waxy or leathery skin (deep burns)
  • Dehydration

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a burn is pretty obvious and does not require any such tests. To determine the percentage of body area burned, a simple rule is used, where the area of your palm represents 1% of your total body area. Any burn occupying more than 25% of your body area is classified as a major burn.

Treatment

Burn treatment is dependent on the type of burn.

Superficial burns can be managed conservatively with burn creams, and cooling the patient, and ensuring adequate hydration.

For deep burns however, some medicines, and surgical procedures may be necessary.

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