WHAT IS A BURN?
A burn can be a small medical problem that is cared for at home or a life-threatening emergency, depending on the severity and cause of the wound. Often, burns are caused by spilling very hot liquids or touching hot surfaces, such as boiling water or a hot stove. Certain chemicals, as well as electricity, can also cause serious skin burns.
If a burn is large enough or very serious, it may require hospitalization in a burn center, or wound care treatment at a wound care facility, such as the wound center at Princeton Wound Care.
WHAT KINDS OF BURNS ARE THERE?
There are three types of burns, depending on the severity of the wound:
These are considered the mildest form of a burn, resulting in skin redness and pain on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). This type of burn is also known as a “superficial” burn, meaning it only affects the surface of the skin.
These burns are more severe and are known as “partial thickness burns” because they affect both the top layer of skin as well as the second layer of skin (dermis). This type of burn causes skin reddening, pain, blistering, and swelling.
These are the most severe form of burns, which are known as “full thickness burns.” They affect the epidermis, dermis, as well as underlying tissues beneath the skin. These types of burns cause the skin to turn white or black and go numb.
WHAT CAUSES A BURN?
Burns are most commonly caused by house fires, kitchen fires, car accidents, and electric faults. Additionally, a burn can be caused by any of the following:
- Thermal burns
- Hot metals
- Boiling liquids
- Heated objects
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A BURN?
Burn symptoms vary depending on the cause, location, and severity of the burn. Symptoms that may warrant a visit to a burn specialist at Princeton Wound Care include:
- Discoloration (black or white)
In severe cases, a burn can cause a person to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of shock due to a burn include:
- Lowered alertness
- Blueness in fingers or lips
WHAT ARE SOME BURN TREATMENT OPTIONS?
A minor burn may be treated with conservative options at home or with a doctor’s assistance and may involve a prescription ointments and bandaging. Whenever a burn does not heal on its own or shows symptoms that indicate a more severe burn, it is important to see a specialist for treatment options. A severe burn can be treated in a number of ways at Princeton Wound Care. But wound treatment options include:
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
- Skin grafting