Burn injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. These injuries can be relatively minor or incredibly severe and lead to long-lasting disabilities. It is important to understand the types of burn injuries, including classifications, as well as the most common treatments that burn injury victims undergo on their path to recovery.
Burn Injuries and Classifications
There are various types of burn injuries that individuals can sustain. In general, we will see that burn injuries are classified from first-degree burns, which are the least severe, to fourth-degree burns, which are the most severe. Superficial burns are classified in lower degrees, and individuals typically fully recover. However, third- and fourth-degree burn victims suffer significant trauma, and this can lead to significant scarring and disfigurement as well as a high risk of death.
There are various types of burn injuries that can occur, including:
- Radiation burns. Radiation burns are the most common type of burn individuals are familiar with, typically happening in the form of a sunburn. Usually, these only affect the outer layer of skin. However, other sources of radiation therapy used for cancer, as well as X-rays, can also lead to radiation burns.
- Friction burns. Friction burns occur anytime the skin comes into contact with other objects and this contact causes the skin to be rubbed off. Technically, this would be considered an abrasion as well as a heat burn that occur in one single incident. These injuries are commonly associated with bicycle and motorcycle accidents.
- Thermal burns. Thermal burns occur anytime a person touches a hot object. This can include touching an oven, scalding liquid, hot metals, flames, etc.
- Electrical burns. Electrical burns occur when a person comes into contact with an electrical current that does not have adequate grounding or protection. This can not only cause damage to the outer layer of skin but also to internal bodily functions.
- Chemical burns. Chemical burns occur if a person comes into contact with a chemical that is strong enough to damage the skin. This can include detergents, bases or acids, and various other types of solvents.
Treatment Options for Burn Injuries
Treatment of moderate to severe burn injuries can be extensive. After an emergency occurs, individuals are typically administered fluids to prevent dehydration as well as medications for anxiety and pain. Different types of dressings will be used to treat the injury, and individuals who have sustained moderate to severe burn injuries will usually be given antibiotics to fight infections.
In the event a person does sustain a severe burn injury, they may need to be hospitalized for significant amounts of time. Depending on the level of severity, individuals may need to be intubated to help with breathing, or a feeding tube may need to be implemented to assist with nutritional needs. Severe burn injury victims often need to undergo significant surgical procedures, including skin grafts or plastic surgery.
Any person who sustains a burn injury caused by the negligence of another party should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering damages, ongoing or in-home treatment, and lost wages.