Burn Injuries

A burn is an injury to the skin or other tissues.

Most burns are due to heat from hot liquids, solids or fires. However, burn injuries can arise from many sources including heat, cold, electricity. chemicals, friction or radiation. There are over 25,000 substances that can cause chemical burns. High voltage, low voltage or electrical flashes can cause electrical burns. Radiation burns arise from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Sun exposure is a common cause of radiation burning but ultraviolet exposure can happen in the workplace, for example, where arc-welding takes place.

Accidents leading to burns can occur almost anywhere from the home to the workplace or in the course of leisure activities. Burns can also arise from criminal/domestic violence such as acid attacks.

Children are particularly at risk from “scalding” burn injuries. Scalding is caused by hot liquids or gases and most commonly occurs from exposure to hot drinks, high temperature tap water in baths or showers, hot cooking oil, or steam. Generally, scalds are first- or second-degree burns, but third-degree burns may also result, especially with prolonged contact to the heat source.

Burns that affect only the superficial skin layers are known as superficial or first-degree burns. They appear red without blisters and pain typically lasts around three days. When the injury extends into some of the underlying skin layer, it is a partial-thickness or second-degree burn. Blisters are frequently present and they are often very painful. Healing can take up to eight weeks and the injured person may be left with some residual scarring. In a full-thickness or third-degree burn, the injury extends to all layers of the skin. Often there is no pain and the burnt area is stiff.[2] Healing typically does not occur on its own. A fourth-degree burn additionally involves injury to deeper tissues, such as the muscles, tendons or bones. The burn is often black and frequently leads to the loss of the burned part.

The treatment of the burn injury depends upon the severity. Superficial first degree burns may be managed with little more than cold water cooling and simple pain medication, whilst major burns may require prolonged treatment in hospital and specialised Burns Units. Partial thickness second degree burns may require cleaning with soap and water followed by dressings in a medical setting. Blisters may need draining of fluid if they are large. Full thickness third degree burns usually require surgical treatments such as skin grafting. A person with Third and Fourth degree burns often requires large amounts of intravenous fluids. Extensive burns also expose a person to risk of serious infection.      

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If you’ve been involved in an accident or suffered an injury, you probably have many more questions than answers.  Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 986 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a Personal Injury Claim.

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