Last Updated on May 07, 2010

  What are burns?

  • Injuries due to heat/ chemicals/ electricity/ radiation
  • Common heat injuries due to fire, hot liquids, steam
  • Burns due to heat / chemicals - through skin contact 
  • Severe burns affect muscles, fat and bones
  • Older people/ children - particularly vulnerable

Burns: Children

Categories of burns

  • First, second and third degree 
  • Categorization depends on severity of tissue damage 
  • Check extent of burn before deciding self treatment
  • Seek help if burn is over a couple of inches in diameter, or
  • If it involves large sections of the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or a major joint

First-degree burns
  • Injuries are superficial / mild
  • Swelling& redness of the injured area 
  • Pain develops
  • No blisters seen
  • Burned area becomes white on touch
  • Takes 3-6 days to heal

  • Remove patient from heat source
  • Remove the burnt clothing
  • Run cool water over burnt area

  • Burns Treatment: Cool Water

  • Gently clean the injured area
  • Gently dry 
  • Apply anti biotic such as Silver Sulphadiazine
  • Use a sterile bandage to cover burns
  • Take tetanus vaccination, if required

Burns Treatment: Vaccination
Second-degree burns
  • Burns extends to middle skin layer, dermis 
  • Swelling, redness and pain observed

  • Second Degree Burns: Pain

  • Burnt area may turn white on touch
  • Blisters develop, that ooze a clear fluid 
  • Scars may develop

  • Second Degree Burns: Scars

  • Restricts movement, if injury occurs at joint
  • Dehydration may occur
  • Healing time varies, depends on extent of injury

  • Clean the affected area thoroughly
  • Gently dry
  • Apply antibiotic cream over affected area

  • Burns Treatment: Antibiotic Cream

  • Make the patient lie down
  • Keep burnt body part at a raised level
  • Skin graft may be required
  • Physical therapy may be essential to aid mobility 
  • Splints may be used to rest affected joints 
  • Hospitalization is essential

Burns Treatment: Hospitalization
 Third-degree burns 
  • Damage occurs to all 3 skin layers
  • Destroys adjacent hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings 
  • Lack of pain due to destroyed nerves

  • Third Degree Burns: Destroyed Nerves

  • Injured area does not turn white on touch
  • No blisters observed
  • Swelling occurs
  • Skin develops leathery texture 
  • Discoloration of skin observed
  • Scars develop 
  • Crusty surfaces (Eschars) develop-impairs circulation 
  • Dehydration occurs resulting in shock 

  • Third Degree Burns: Dehydration

  • Symptoms may worsen with time 
  • Disfigurement may result 
  • Healing depends on extent of injury 
  • 90% body surface injury results in death 
  • 60% injury in elderly, fatal 
  • Requires immediate hospital care 
  • Dehydration treated through intravenous fluid supply 
  • Oxygen is administered 
  • Eschars are surgically opened 
  • Periodically run clean cool water over burns 
  • Nutritious diet helps to heal quickly 

  • Treatment of Burns: Nutritious Diet

  • Regular monitoring essential 
  • Mental Depression treated by anti-depressants 
  • Install smoke alarm in your home
  • Employ 'children friendly' safety measures at home
  • Avoid synthetic clothing while cooking 

  • Prevention of Burns: Avoid Synthetic Clothing while Cooking

  • Carry out fire drills at home and work place


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@ViratKohli_rules, India

what are 4th degree burns

@jaisonJames, India

if it is good for useing cooling water for 2nd deg burns......?

@swati72, India

This is written very nicely and easy to understand to younger children or elder ones..Nicely written...I am impressed

@Bobby62, United States

can you apply cool water to second degree burn in immediate care before treatment

@jeril, United Arab Emirates

`thanks for information