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Burns:- Degrees, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention, General Home Care and Home Remedies of Burns

Burns may be caused by excessive dry heat, acid or alkaline substances or electricity or ra­diation. Scalds are caused by wet heat, hot liq­uids and vapours. To assess the severity of burn many factors including the cause, depth and extent of the burn should be considered. It is customary to classify burns according to the damage that has been done. There are mainly three types of burns:

1.First degree burns

2.Second degree burns

3.Third degree burns


First-degree burns are deeper and cause the skin to red. Sunburn is usually a first-degree burn. First-degree burns may cause a lot of pain but are not major medical problem. Even when they are extensive, they seldom result in lasting problems and seldom need a doctor's attention.


Second-degree burns are deeper and result in splitting of the skin layers or blistering. Scalding with hot water and very severe sunburn with blisters are common instances of second-degree burns.

These burns are painful and, if extensive, and may cause significant fluid loss. Scarring, however, is minimal, and infection usually is not a problem. Second-degree burns can be treated at home if they are not extensive. Any second-degree burn that involves an area larger than the patient's hand should be seen by doctor. In addition, a second-degree burn that involves the face or the hands should be seen by a doctor; this might result in cosmetic problems or loss of function.


Third-degree burns destroy all layers of the skin and extend into the deeper tissues. They are painless because nerve endings have been destroyed. Charring of the burned tissue is usually present. Third-degree burns result in scarring and present frequent problems with infection and fluid loss. The more extensive the burn, the more difficult these problems. All third-degree burns should be seen by a doctor because they may lead to scarring and infection and skin grafts are often needed.

Causes of Burns

A burn can be caused not only by fire but also by following causes:


2.strong friction,

3.corrosive chemicals and

4.electricity or radiation.

Diagnosis of Burns

The doctor will establish the extent and degree of the burn and will determine the need for antibiotics, hospitalization, and skin grafting. An antibacterial ointment and dressing will often be recommended; it must be frequently changed while checking the burn for infection. Extensive burns may require hospitalization, and third-degree burns any eventually require skin grafts.

Prevention of Burns

Install smoke detectors on each story of your home. Check and replace the batteries regularly.

Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Have it inspected yearly.

Set your water heater at 49°C (1200P) or lower to avoid burns.

Don't smoke in bed.

Use caution around campfires and hot appliances.

If your clothing catches fire:

Do not run, because running will fan the flames. Stop, drop, and roll on the ground to smother the flames. Or smother the flames with a blanket, rug, or coat.

Use water to douse the fire and cool the skin.

To avoid kitchen burns:

Use caution when handling hot foods and beverages.

Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

Smother burning food or grease with a pot or pot lid.

Supervise children closely.

Home Treatment of Burns

First- and second-degree bums can be treated at home as follows:

•  Run cold tap water over the burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Cold water is the best immediate treatment for minor burns. The cold lowers skin temperature and lessens the sever­ity of the burn. Do not use ice, because it may further damage the injured skin.

•  Remove rings, bracelets, watches, or shoes from the burned limb. Swelling may make these items difficult to remove later.

•  Leave the burn alone for 24 hours. Don't cover the burn unless cloth­ing rubs on it. If clothing rubs the burned area, cover the burn with a gauze pad taped well away from the burn. Do not encircle a hand, arm, or leg with tape. Change the bandage after 24 hours, and then every 2 days.

•  Do not put salve, butter, grease, oil, or ointment on a burn. They increase the risk of infection and don't help the burn heal.

•  After 2 to 3 days of healing, apply the juice from an aloe leaf to soothe minor burns.

•  If the burn causes blisters to form:

•  Do not break blisters. If blisters break, clean the area by running a tap water over it and applying soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment, such as Polysporin or bacitracin, and cover the bum with "Sterile dressing. Don't touch the burned area with your hands or any sterile objects. Remove the dressing every day, clean the burned area with mild soap, and cover it again.

Home Remedies of Burns

Make a paste out of cornmill and water and place on burn. Hold in place with clean towel or rag until heat is drawn out. If done properly it can prevent a blister from occuring.

Honey retains heat, so the burn must first be cooled with cold running water or ice cubes, then honey applied to the burned area.  

Third-degree bums require immediate medical treatment. Call a health professional and apply home treatment:

Make sure the source of the burn has been extinguished.

Have the person lie down to pre­vent shock.

Cover the burned area with a clean sheet.

Do not apply any salve or medica­tion to the burn.

Call the doctor now:

Call the doctor for all third degree burns

If you are in doubt about the extent of a burn, or in doubt whether it is a second- or third-degree bum.

If a second-degree bum involves me face, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint and is more than 2.5 cm (1inch) in diameter.

If the bum encircles an arm or leg, or if it covers more than 1/4 of the body part involved.

If the pain lasts longer than 48 hours.

If the following signs of infection develop:

Increased pain, swelling, red­ness, or tenderness.

Heat or red streaks extending from the area.

Discharge of pus.

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