What are Burns?

Burn is one of the most common injuries that can happen anytime if you are not careful. Skin burn causes damage or death of skin cells. Burns are classified into 3 degrees based upon the level of damage done to the skin cells. A first degree burn causes redness in the skin followed by little pain. Second degree burn causes blisters and leads to thickness of the skin, and third degree burn causes severe damage and needs medical attention immediately. Third-degree burns are the most severe burns. These cause maximum damage that goes down to different layers of the skin even to the underlying tissue. They can even result in extensive nerve damage, due to which a patient feels very less pain, contrary to the myth that third degree burns are the most painful. A third degree burn takes months to heal completely.


The symptoms of burns include:

  • In case of first degree burns, the person will notice redness in the skin, pain, and swelling.
  • Second degree burns cause the skin to blister and become extremely red and sore.
  • Third degree burns cause charring of the skin that looks leathery or waxy.



A burn may be caused by:

  • Fire.
  • Spilling of hot water or liquid.
  • Steam.
  • Electric current.
  • Direct sunlight.
  • Radiations from X-rays.
  • Chemicals.



Major risk factors are:

  • Small children are more prone to burns.
  • Consumption of alcohol and other illegal drugs.
  • Too much exposure to sun.
  • Careless handling of flammable substances.
  • Families with low socioeconomic status.
  • Careless smoking.



To prevent burns you need to:

  • Carefully handle electrical appliances.
  • Keep hot liquids and flammable substances out of the reach of children.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher.
  • Install smoke alarms and check them regularly.
  • Never cook with wearing loose fitting clothes.
  • Never leave candles unattended.

How is it diagnosed?

In case of a serious burn, the doctor at Medanta may carry out lab tests, and X-ray to know how much damage is done.


How is it treated?

The treatment depends on the degree of burn. First degree burns do not require medical attention. For minor burns first aid care is adequate. However, in case of serious burns, our doctors at Medanta may carry out various treatment methods:


  • Water based treatment

    Ultrasound mist therapy can be used to clean and stimulate the damaged tissue.


  • Medications

    Pain relievers like morphine and anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed. Additionally, intravenous fluids may be injected to prevent dehydration or organ failure.


  • Dressing and bandage

     Proper dressing is necessary for speedy healing and preventing infection.


  • Physical therapy

    If the burnt area is large or covers the joints, then physical exercises are necessary to keep the joints flexible.


  • Surgery

    In case the burn is deep and has affected internal organs, surgical procedure may be required to correct the damage done. Skin grafting or plastic surgery might be necessary.

When do I contact the doctor?

If the burn is severe and causes blisters and charring of the skin, you will need to contact a doctor immediately. Immediate medical help might prevent further damage, such as organ failure.

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