What kinds of burns are there? 
Burns are classified as follows:  
1st Degree:  Involves the outer-most layer of skin (epidermis).  Characterized by reddened flesh, with mild swelling and pain.  A sunburn or damage from touching a hot stove would be examples of this category. 
2nd Degree: Involves the deeper layer of skin (dermis).  Characterized by red or blotchy skin, more severe edema and pain.  Blisters form.  This type of burn is seen with prolonged contact with hot objects and scalding with hot liquids.   
3rd Degree:  Involves tissues deeper than the skin--muscle, tendon, even bone.  Characterized by white or burnt flesh, with no pain because of nerve damage.  This type of burn is seen with fire and burns resulting from contact with power lines.  

How do you treat burns?

1st degree burns are treated by immersing the flesh in cool water or applying clean, cool compresses. Pain can be controlled with aspirin or other medications.  An aloe vera ointment may also be applied to cool the skin and help prevent blistering.
2nd degree burns should be treated by medical personel.  Cold water immersion or compresses are again advisable.  Blisters are not broken.  If the area of burn is large enough, IV fluids will be started to guard against dehydration.  Antibiotics to fight off infection may be considered.
3rd degree burns require immediate medical attention, as patients will probably need to be treated for shock.  Until that time, injured tissues should be cooled.  If the area is small, this is done with cold water, but if a large surface area, cold water can worsen the patient's shock and lower blood pressure.  Keep the patient lying down, and cover the burned area with a clean bandage and get the victim to a hospital immediately.  

What shouldn't you do for a burn? 

NEVER apply butter, cream, or ointment to a burn without a doctor's order.  They will likely have to be scraped off (painfully) at the hospital before the patient may be treated. 


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This website is operated by 
The Achilles Foot Health Centre
S. A. Schumacher, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., F.A.C.F.A.O.M.  
Dr. S. A. Schumacher, Podiatric Corporation  

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