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


Most Popular on Medindia


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