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Second & Third Degree Burn information
Second-degree burns affect the epidermis (or outer layer) and the dermis (or underlying layer) of skin causing redness, swelling, pain, and blisters. Affected areas may include sweat glands, and hair follicles. If a deep second-degree burn is not properly treated, decreased blood flow and swelling of tissues may result in the burn becoming a third-degree burn.
Third degree burns affect all layers of the skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. The skin may char or become a translucent white color with coagulated vessels visible just below the skin. And although the victim may complain of pain, the pain is usually due to concurrent second-degree burns. Third-degree burn areas will typically be numb since the skin tissue and structures are completely destroyed. Healing is slow and usually results in extensive scarring.
Symptoms of second and third-degree burns include redness, swelling, peeling skin, white or charred skin, peeling skin and pain. The victim may also fall into shock exhibiting additional symptoms such as pale, clammy skin, bluish lips and fingernails, and weakness.
First aid for both second and third-degree burns includes the following steps:
- Avoid removing burnt clothing unless it comes off easily
- Ensure that the victim is not in contact with smoldering or burning materials
- If the victim is not breathing, open the airway and begin administering CPR
- If breathing, cover the burn with a clean cloth or a cool moist sterile bandage
- For large burns, use a sheet, not a blanket or a towel
- Avoid breaking blisters and do not disturb dead skin
- Do not apply ointment, ice, butter, fluffy cotton dressing, medications, cream, adhesive bandages, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn
- If toes or fingers are burned, separate them with non-adhesive, sterile dressings
- Elevate the burned area and protect it from pressure or friction
- Lay the victim flat and elevate the feet twelve inches and cover the victim with a blanket or coat to prevent shock unless you suspect a neck, head, leg or back injury or if it makes the victim uncomfortable
- Do not immerse a severe burn in cold water or apply cold compresses since this can cause shock
- Continue to monitor the victim's vital signs (breathing, pulse, and blood pressure)
- Do not breathe or cough on the burned area and avoid other contaminants
- If there is an airway burn and the victim is lying down, do not place a pillow under the victim’s head since this may close the airway
If you or a family member has suffered second or third-degree burns as a results of an accident, please contact PersonalInjury.com. We will help you find an experienced burn injury lawyer in your area.