The severity of a burn injury is judged by how deep into your flesh the burn goes. The higher the number, the more severe the burn is, so a fourth degree burn is much more serious than a first degree.
Fourth degree burn - The most severe kind of burn, it goes through the skin, into the flesh, fat, muscles and sometimes even the bone. Very prone to infection and may develop into gangrene and lead to amputation.
Third Degree Burns - Charred and burnt skin. Both the top and second layer of skin are burned all the way through. May not be painful if the nerve endings are destroyed to the affected area. This type of burn commonly will need surgery to repair and leaves scars.
Second Degree Burn - Blistering. Both the top layer of skin and the second layer underneath is involved. Usually characterized by blisters filled with fluid, and a higher risk of infection.
First Degree Burn - Sunburn. Painful reddening of just the top layer of skin.
What To Do If You Get A Minor Burn
If you get a minor burn that you can treat at home, this is what you should do:
- Removed clothing and jewelry from the affected area
- Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) water for about 10 minutes to remove the heat from the burned area. This is only if you are burned in a small area. Do not immerse your whole body in cool water as it may be too much of a shock and you may lose too much body heat. If you can submerge the burned area, then press cool water dampened clean paper towels to the affected skin.
- Leave blisters alone, do not try to break them. (small blisters) Broken blisters are the perfect way for germs to get in and infections to start. If the blisters get broken accidentally, then apply antibiotic ointments to the open areas and cover with a non-stick bandage.
- If the skin is just red and not blistered, then apply aloe vera lotion or gel to the skin. If you don't have any aloe vera lotion, then a good moisturizer is also good.
- If you are in pain, take some over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil.
- If you have broken blisters or open areas from a burn, you should get a tetanus shot if you have not had one in over 10 years.
Burns are one of the most painful injuries a person can sustain. The recovery period for third and forth degree burns is long and severely uncomfortable. Even lesser degree burns can be very painful, so we all need be extra vigilant to protect ourselves.
Have a great weekend!