Treating Severe Burns

Burn Injury
Treating Severe Burns

Most first degree burns do not need medical attention, but once you get into second, third and fourth degree burns, there is need for medical intervention. This is so because the burn has gone beyond the first layer of skin to the second and beyond. Treatment for 2nd and 3rd degree burns is as follows:

  1. 2nd Degree Burns. It is important to keep these burns clean and to make sure that bandages are changed frequently. The goal is to make sure that infection is prevented. Additionally, healing is faster when the wound is kept clean. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for such a wound to heal and in some instances, it may be necessary to have a skin graft done. If the second degree burns are over a wide area, there may be need for complicated treatments. Additionally, the feet, hands, groin, buttocks and face may need extensive treatment because they are more likely to get infected.
  2. 3rd Degree Burns. These are terrible burns and can become life threatening. They have gone past the skin and damaged the nerves and muscles that lie underneath. The burns tend not to be very painful initially because the nerves have been damaged, but there is a major threat to the person’s life. This danger is proportional to the area covered with 3rd degree burns. The person’s skin tends to be:
    • Charred
    • Leathery and swollen
    • Black or dark brown
    • Chalky white and waxy

Healing takes a long time. It can take months or years during which time dead tissue is excised, skin grafts done and healing takes place. The person also needs to get treated for PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

Burn Complications for 3rd Degree Burns

There are a myriad of complications that include:

  • Loss of Blood
  • Shock
  • Infection from bacteria and sepsis
  • Toxic shock if the burns cover more than 1/3 of the person’s body
  • Tetanus
  • Hypovolemia and Hypothermia

Scars and Skin Grafts

Every burn leaves a scar, but when the burn is severe, you are also looking at keloids as well as contractual scars. The contractual scars occur when the nerves and muscles have been burnt. When scars are being treated, the initial treatments may include laser techniques, silicon sheets and steroids. However, the main treatment for scars is skin grafting. Once one round of grafts has been completed, then another one is done.

The reconstruction of the skin is only commenced once the person is stable. Additionally, other variables are taken into consideration. It should be noted though, that the procedures should be started as soon as possible for a better outcome.

Read more about burn injuries here and here.

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