Burn Injuries: Causes & Symptoms

Jeffrey BreitJuly 13, 2016

burn injury dressing

There are many different causes of burn injuries, but the most common include exposure to heat, chemicals, or electricity. Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the injury but may include pain, redness, swelling, and blisters. Sometimes you may need to get medical help if you think you might have severe burn injuries that are not healing. This article will highlight some of the main things you need to know about burn injuries.

Burn injury causes

Scalds from hot liquids or steam account for approximately 20% of all burn injuries, while contact with hot objects such as stoves, irons, or fires account for another 20%. 

Electrical sources account for 15% of burn injuries, while chemicals account for 10%. Flames or other sources make up the remaining 35%. Of all burn injuries, approximately 40% occur in children under the age of 14. These statistics highlight the need for increased education and awareness about burn prevention, especially among children and young adults.

Burn injury types

According to the American Burn Association, there are approximately 486,000 burn injuries treated in U.S. hospitals each year. This startling statistic underscores the importance of burn prevention. 

Burn injuries can be classified as first, second, or third-degree depending on how deep and severe they penetrate the skin, with third-degree burns being the most serious. The majority of burn injuries (70%) are classified as first or second-degree burns, while the remaining 30% are third-degree burns.

Burn injury symptoms

First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of the skin, causing redness, pain, and swelling. Second-degree burns affect the outer and underlying layer of skin, causing pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Third-degree burn symptoms include white or blackened skin, severe pain, swelling, and blistering at the site of the burn. Fourth-degree burn symptoms, which tend to be the highest level of burn and can be life-threatening, include white or blackened skin, severe pain, swelling, and charring at the site of the burn. If you experience any of these symptoms after a burn injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If a burn gets infected, it can be painful and dangerous. Symptoms of an infected burn include increased pain, redness, swelling, and puss or other drainage from the wound. If you think your burn might be infected, see a doctor right away.

Burns can also cause shock, which is a life-threatening condition that happens when your body doesn’t get enough blood flow. Symptoms of shock include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and fainting. If you think someone has gone into shock after a burn injury, call for help immediately.

Burn injury prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent burn injuries. When cooking, use the backburners of the stove and keep the pot handles turned inward so children can’t reach them. 

Keep lighters and matches out of reach, and make sure your children are aware of the ‘stop, drop, and roll’ rule if their clothes catch on fire. When using chemicals, always follow the directions carefully and wear gloves and other protective gear. Be extra careful around electrical outlets and cords, and never stick anything metal into an outlet. Keep flammable liquids away from heat sources, and never smoke inside the house. 

By taking these simple precautions, you can help prevent burn injuries from happening in the first place.

When to see a doctor

Burn injuries can range from minor to severe, and it is important to seek medical attention if the burn is large or deep, if it affects the face, hands, feet, or genitals, or if it covers more than 10 percent of the body. If you have a burn that is not healing or seems to be getting worse, you should also see a doctor. 

In addition, burns that are accompanied by signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and puss, require prompt medical treatment. Finally, if you have been burned by a chemical or an electrical source, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If you are unsure whether or not you need to see a doctor for your burn injury, you can always call your local medical provider for advice.

Burn injury myths

Do not listen to everything that you hear about burn injuries. There are a few myths that may prevent a person from getting the help that they require. For example:

  • Many people believe that burn injury only happens to people who are involved in fires. However, burn injury can also be caused by chemicals, electricity, and even sun exposure.
  • In addition, many people think that burn injury only affects the skin. However, burn injuries can also damage the nerves, muscles, and bones. As a result, it is important to get accurate information about burn injuries so that you can get the treatment you need.
  • Many people also believe that burns are painful, and if it is not painful, then it is fine. This is not always the case and the damage can be substantial if ignored.

Burn injuries can be very serious, and it is important to get accurate information about the causes, types, and symptoms of burn injuries so that you can get the treatment you need. 

No matter what happened, if someone else caused your burn injury, you have legal rights. You may be able to seek compensation for the damages you have sustained as the result of a burn injury. Our Virginia burn injury lawyers at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner can help you. Call us today to discuss your potential lawsuit in a free consultation.


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