Burn wound care is important to avoid infection and help the healing process.
A burn is an injury to the flesh caused by such things as heat, chemicals, friction or electricity. These wounds can range in severity by degrees and, with the exception of first degree burns, most often require medical attention for proper wound assessment and treatment. If you have recently suffered a burn, seek medical advice from a local specialist. Here is a brief overview of the most common types of burns:
First degree burns are also known as superficial burns because the only affect the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. The skin will become red, dry and painful but eventually the epidermis layer will come off. First degree burns typically don’t require medical care.
Second degree burns usually extend to the dermis layer, and can be superficial partial thickness or deep partial thickness in depth. The former affects the epidermis and the dermis, though the damage second layer is superficial. These may be moist and red and could form blisters. Deep partial thickness burns extend fully through the two layers of skin but may be less painful and red than the superficial. However, they take longer to heal and can have more scarring. Second degree burns most likely require medical attention.
Third degree burns extend through the entire dermis and cause the skin to become stiff and turn white or brown in color. They can take months to heal and require burn wound care.
Fourth degree burns extend through the entire skin and as well as the underlying fat, muscle and bone. The skin will turn black and look charred. Fourth degree burns are the most serious and require immediate medical attention and treatment.
Burn wound care
In the case of second, third and fourth degree burns, you should see a clinician for proper treatment and wound dressing. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical assistance if you get badly burned in order to avoid infection, which can create further complications. The professional can determine the degree of your burn.
The doctor may use wound debridement to remove debris, dead skin and blisters. The physician will also determine the best wound dressing option. According to the British Medical Journal, hydrocolloid dressings are useful for hands and other small areas with superficial or partial thickness burns. Alginate dressings may also be appropriate as they adhere to the wound. Once the wound heals, the alginate will separate.
It will be important to keep the burn wound clean while it’s healing, and the dressing will need to be frequently changed to avoid infection. The doctor will provide instructions and schedule follow-ups to check on the healing process. If it’s a severe wound, you’ll stay under doctor care until conditions have improved.