General data about burn

>> ABOUT BURNED SKIN

WHAT TEMPERATURE CAN DAMAGE MY SKIN ?

A burn is damage to your skin caused by a temperature as low as 44 degrees Celsius (109.4 Fahrenheit) for a long time.
A high temperature (more than 80 degrees Celsius) can cause more severe burns in a very short period of time (less than a second).

 

SHALLOW BURNS

The thickest skin is on the soles of the feet and on the back where it can measure up to 5 mm (nearly ¼ of an inch), whereas the thinnest skin is around the eyes and is a tenth as thick as the skin on the back (0.5 mm). Small children have much thinner skin all over their body, compared to adults.

HOW DO YOU RECOGNISE A SHALLOW BURN?
When the skin sustains a shallow burn, the surface part of your skin will lift from the other layers, and blisters will be formed. The appearance of the skin might be red or discoloured. The blisters will contain fluids. If the blisters are removed you may see small blobs of fluid on the surface of the burn.
IT HURTS! Common causes for shallow burns are: overexposure to the sun or some scalds.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?

Put the painful area under the cool running water and take some pain killers. Go to the nearest GP or Accident and Emergency Department.

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Shallow burn on a forearm

PARTIAL DEEP BURNS

If a hot object touches the skin for a short time or if the temperature of the object in contact with the skin is not too high but it stays for longer time, the burns might be deeper, partially destroying the second layer of the skin (dermis). This is a partial deep burn (deep dermal thickness burns).

HOW DO YOU RECOGNISE A PARTIAL DEEP BURN?
When somebody has a partial deep thickness burn, the skin is damaged most of the way through. Blisters can be seen and the skin underneath looks red or mottled. Water and salt is lost from deep burn, but this is less obvious than in a shallow burn. IT HURTS sometimes, but less than a shallow burn.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?
Put the painful area under the cool running water and take some pain killers. Go to the nearest GP or Accident and Emergency Department.

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Partial deep burn on forearm

DEEP BURNS

If the temperature of the object that comes in contact with the skin is high, or the contact is for a long time, the burn might be very deep destroying all the skin, sometimes even deeper.This type of injury is a deep burn (full thickness burn).

HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE A DEEP BURN?
When somebody has a deep or full thickness burn, all the layers of the skin are damaged. In severe cases a burn can even involve deeper tissues such as fat, muscles or even bone. The damaged skin may look white, charred or brown. It may have leathery appearance and blisters will not be seen.

Water and salt is lost from a deep burn, but this is less obvious than in a shallow burn.It hurts when it happens, but than may to be less painful because nerve endings are destroyed.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?
Put the painful area under the cold tap in running water. Apply a dry cloth and wrapped loosely. Take pain killers if needed. Go to the nearest Accident and Emergency department.

ALL VICTIMS OF SERIOUS BURNS SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP QUICKLY!

WILL THE DEPTH OF THE BURN STAY THE SAME?

The skin will lose its properties when if is damaged by burning. The depth of the burn may change slightly in the first day after the incident. A burns that looks shallow at the first glance, might get deeper after 2 days.

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Deep burn on thigh

WHAT ARE YOU LOSING THROUGH BURNED SKIN ?

You will lose water and salts as well as proteins, vitamins, minerals.If you have a small burn, your body can cope with the fluid loss from the damaged area. This is not often true in elderly people with burns.
If a baby or child sustains burns larger than 1/10 (10%) of his/her total skin surface, the fluid loss will be considerable and the body cannot cope by itself. Firstly, the child may feel thirsty and later on he/she will wee less. His/her body will need more fluids. Water with sugar and salts will be given to the child through a drip for the first 24 hours after the injury. The child will require admission to a Burn Unit.

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Fluid loss and methods of replacement in a child with more than 10% burns
If an adult presents with burns larger than 15% of the total skin surface, fluid loss will be considerable and admission to a Burn Unit is required. In a short period of time (hours), the body will lose fluids faster than replacement by drinking.Water with salts will be given through a drip in order to compensate for the loss. The amount of fluid required depends on the size of the person and the extent of the burn. It may be a lot: for example for an 11 stones (70Kg) man with a 40% burns, the fluid requirement will be more than 11 litres in the first 24 hours.



Fluid loss and methods of replacement in an adult with more than 15% burns

WHAT OTHER LOSSES ARE CAUSED BY BURN INJURIES ?

When the skin is burned you lose not only salt and water, but also proteins, vitamins and minerals. The amount of protein loss increases with the extent of the burn and it will be replaced by eating the right kind of food. The dietician will have an important role in adjusting and advising you what to eat.
As you can see a simple skin burn can have significant effects on the balance of your body, which we aim to restore later on during the recovery period.
In severe burns the insult to your body can be so severe that it might take a while till the balance is restored.



Other losses caused by burn injuries and methods of replacement
   
   

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