Your skin is a natural barrier against infection, and a severe burn can compromise that protection.
Whether you experience a superficial first-degree burn or an extreme third- or fourth-degree burn, proper burn wound care and rapid treatment are necessary to heal your skin and protect your body from dangerous complications.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF BURN WOUNDS?
Most people associate burns with touching a hot oven dish or curling iron, but there are many different causes of burn wounds on the skin.
Thermal burns, the most recognized type of burn wounds, are caused by the extreme heat of hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, or flames. The external heat source immediately raises the temperature of the skin tissue, causing cell charring and even cell death.
Chemical burns, on the other hand, don’t relate to heat. These burns are sustained when the skin comes into contact with strong acids, solvents, detergents, and other chemical-based substances. Even standard household items like cleaners and cosmetics can cause chemical burns if used improperly.
Electrical burns aren’t as common as thermal and chemical burns, but they can be very severe. If the body comes into contact with an electrical current, the force of the electricity injures the skin and causes a burn to form. Depending on the amount of electricity that enters your body, an electrical burn may be superficial or extend through all layers of skin.
Prolonged exposure to harmful radiation waves, including ultraviolet sun rays, x-rays, and radiation cancer therapy, can trigger burn wounds on the body. Most radiation burns in the United States occur as a result of cancer treatments that use potent radiation or radioactive substances to kill cancerous cells.
A first-degree burn is the least intense type of burn because it only affects the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis. You’ll feel the pain of a first-degree burn and notice redness, tenderness, and pain along the injured area, but most first-degree burns heal on their own within a week.
Mild sunburn is a first-degree burn.
A second-degree burn causes injury to the first two levels of skin, the epidermis and the dermis. Unlike a first-degree burn, which may not be very noticeable, a second-degree burn will create very painful burns and blisters that look soft, moist, and pink. Fluid might ooze from the skin of a second-degree burn, and it’s common for scars to develop after the burn heals.
Third-degree burns are extremely aggressive. They damage the epidermis, dermis, and the third layer of skin called the hypodermis. As a result, third-degree burns damage the full thickness of skin, including fat, nerves, and possibly muscles and bones. Skin that suffers third-degree burning may look black, brown, white, or leathery.
Fourth-degree burns extend through the skin and subcutaneous fat into the underlying muscle and bone. This type of severe burn is treated in specialized burn units in a hospital.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR BURN PATIENTS
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) may also be indicated for second and third degree burns covering more than 18% of the body surface area.
When HBOT is given within the first three days of a burn wound, it increases oxygen saturation within the body until it’s 12 times more than the oxygen obtained by breathing normal air. This additional oxygen can even bring tissue back to life that might otherwise die from the burn injury.
HBOT is equally valuable even a long time after a burn injury is sustained. Using a special hyperbaric chamber, this therapy helps oxygen dissolve directly into all of the body’s fluids so that it can thoroughly permeate areas where circulation has become reduced or blocked.
Contact us today to learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy for severe burns.