Burn injuries are extremely painful and may leave permanent physical and psychological scars. According to the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, in the early nineties there were more that 2.4 million burn injuries reported in the United States every year. Of these burn injuries, over one million involved significant physical damage.
Each year, thousands of burn injuries result in death. In fact, burn injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death, behind automobile accidents.
There are four categories of burn injuries:
First degree burns Superficial second degree burns Deep second degree burns Third degree burns
First Degree Burns
First-degree burns usually affect the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. A first-degree burn tends to be moist and red in color. A burn of this nature is generally resolved within a week. A classic example of a first-degree burn would be mild sunburn.
Superficial Second Degree Burns
A superficial second-degree burn penetrates the entire epidermal layer of skin and extends down to the next skin layer, known as the dermis. Pressure on a second-degree burn tends to produce red blanches. The burn may appear moist and pinkish in color. A superficial second-degree burn also should heal spontaneously, often within two weeks.
Deep Second Degree Burns
A deep second-degree burn differs from the superficial variety, because the tissue destruction runs deeper into the dermis. A burn of this nature will be dry and whitish in color. It will not produce red blanches with application of pressure. This type of burn may take three to four weeks to heal. There is a risk that a deep second-degree burn will leave thick or hypertrophic scars.
Third Degree Burns
The most severe classification is the third degree burn. This occurs when the burn destroyed both the epidermal and dermal layers of skin and extended down to the subcutaneous tissue. These burns may be physically depressed, charred, and often leather-like in appearance.
Ironically, a third degree burn may not be as physically painful as less severe types, because of the amount of nerve endings that were destroyed. These burns are very serious and often require skin grafting or other reconstructive procedures.
Burns are also classified into two categories: partial thickness and full thickness. Partial thickness burns include first and second degree burns, while full thickness burns are usually third degree burns.
These descriptions only describe the general burn characteristics. However, you should not attempt to diagnose the severity of a burn on your own. Instead, get prompt medical attention, because this can be important in minimizing pain and promoting faster recovery. In severe burn cases, immediate medical treatment may save lives.
Burn injuries are expensive to treat. A prolonged hospitalization for third degree burns can easily exceed $100,000. Many burn injuries are due to negligence (the fault of another person). If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury, talk with an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer today.