Burn injuries result in 300,000 deaths every year and are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the Burn Injury Recovery Center. Nearly 4,000 people die every year from burn injuries in the United States alone.
Prompt assessment and treatment of burn injuries is crucial. Assessment and treatment of burn injuries relies upon three areas of information that include severity, location and diagnosis.
- Severity – will depend on how hot the skin got and how long the burning of flesh lasted
- Location – because skin in different areas of the body have different thicknesses, water and oil content, subcutaneous fat and blood vessels, location plays a key role in assessment
- Diagnosis – based on the depth of the burn
- First-degree burns – redness, often with a white plaque and minor pain at the site of the burn
- Second-degree burns – leaking of clear fluid, superficial blistering, and increase in pain level
- Third-degree burns – charring of skin and can include a hard, leather-like scabby appearance
- Fourth-degree burns – injury to deep tissue underlying the skin, including the muscles and bones. Further differentiated by:
- Partial thickness burns – partial damage at all levels of tissue and bone
- Full thickness burns – damage at all levels of tissue and bone
The information obtained in the assessment of severity, location and diagnosis will form the foundation for the establishment of a treatment plan for the burn victim.