The severity of a burn often depends on how far it extends into the layers of the skin and the total surface area it covers on your body. It is quite difficult to manage the pain associated with burns because they differ in type and severity. Burns range from mild to severe which means that some can be treated at home while others may require long-term medical care. The type of burn you have is treated based on what caused it and the severity of damage inflicted on your skin. Some common causes of burns include friction, cold, thermal, electrical, chemical and radiation burns. All these examples may fall under three types of burns referred to as first, second and third degree burns. In this article, we will be discussing how these types of degree burns are treated and how to manage burn pain.
- First Degree Burns
These type of burns are considered mild because they only affect the outer layer of the skin. First-degree burns are characterized by red and painful skin and may have rare long-term damage. The main signs of first-degree burns include redness, pain, minor inflammation, and peeling skin. These signs and symptoms may disappear once the skin cells shed off because the burn only affects the top layer of the skin.
However, it is recommended to see a doctor if the burn affects a large area of the skin or your face. Some causes of first-degree burns include sunburns, scalds, and electricity. Sunburns develop when intense ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate the outer layer of your skin, causing it to blister and redden the peel. Scalds may occur when a hot liquid spills on your hands, face, and body. It can also be caused by steam or bathing in extremely hot water.
How are First Degree Burns Treated?
Most first-degree burns can be treated at home by placing a cool compress over the affected area to relieve pain and swelling. Avoid using extremely cold compresses or ice as they aggravate the burn. Antibiotic ointments, honey, lotion or Aloe Vera can be applied on the burn to speed up the repair of the damaged skin and reduce drying. However, if you are concerned about a burn your child received, call a pediatrician to examine the burn and determine its level of severity. It is also important to see your doctor if your burn becomes extremely painful, swollen or infected.
- Second Degree Burns
This type of burn affects the epidermis and the lower layer of the skin known as the dermis. The first sign of a second-degree burn is blisters caused by fluids that build up beneath the epidermis. This burn indicates a loss of skin function since your body not only loses fluids and heat, but also the ability to block infection. Second-degree burns are usually more painful than first-degree burns because they expose the raw nerve cells of the dermis.
How are Second Degree Burns Treated?
Treatment options for mild second-degree burns include running cool water on your skin for at least 15 minutes or longer, applying antibiotic cream to blisters and taking over-the-counter pain medications. However, you should seek emergency medical treatment if the burn extends over your face, groin, feet, hands, or other critical areas on your body. The dressing changes of your wound may vary depending on the severity of the burn.
- Third Degree Burns
Unlike second-degree burns, third-degree burns affect deeper tissues because they penetrate through the dermis. A third=degree burn may result in numbness of the skin, which may appear charred, white, or blackened. Third-degree burns can be caused by an electrical source, chemical source, fire, or when your skin encounters a hot object for an extended period. Other patients may experience lack of pain because of damaged nerve endings in the affected area.
How are Third Degree Burns Treated?
The treatment of third-degree burns is determined based on the cause, location, and extent of the burn. Unlike first and second-degree burns, third-degree burns require special medical attention to clean and remove dead skin and tissue from the affected area. A patient may also require intravenous fluids or antibiotics should they develop an infection. Your doctor will also prescribe pain medication, nutritional supplements, and a high-protein diet to help with quick recovery of your body tissues.
The degree of burn may change if the damage keeps spreading to the deeper tissues. Any type of burn needs to be addressed with urgency since it may lead to many complications such as infection, or joint and bone problems. During treatment, it is always a good idea to check up with your doctor to monitor the progress as they can recommend effective treatment to speed up your recovery.