When it comes to burns, there are four classifications from first degree to fourth degree as well as chemical burns. Burns are painful, no matter how they happen, and the amount of treatment that they require varies depending on their severity. Minor burns tend to heal without the need of medical attention, major burns on the other hand require special care and precautions in order to prevent the person from contracting an infection; however, each degree of burns needs to be treated in a different way and before undergoing any sort of treatment it is important that you classify the burn properly.
- First degree burns: This is the least severe and most common type of burn. The sun or tanning bed are often the cause of first degree burns and the skin becomes red and sensitive. First degree burns affect the epidermis which is the outer layer of the skin.
- Second degree burns: These are much more painful than first degree burns. This type of burn involves the epidermis being completely burned off and the dermis (the layer under the epidermis) also being burned. These types of burns often turn swollen and blistered; the blisters usually pop on their own and a layer off crackly skin breaks away to reveal a new layer. This type of burn can be caused by the sun but it would be a particularly bad burn – usually on someone with fair skin. Second degree burns can also be caused by touching the oven or splattering oil.
- Third degree burns: Third degree burns are worse again and are in fact one of the most severe. In the case of a third degree burn, all layers of skin have been burned in some way and the burn has reached as deep as the tissue underneath the skin. Numbness can become a problem due to nerve damage and the skin can appear leathery or waxy.
- Fourth degree burns: There may not be any pain at all depending on how severely the nerves have been damaged and the burned area will be black. This is the most severe burn and it goes deeper than the underlying tissue into the muscle and bone.
- Chemical burns: these types of burns can be caused by common chemicals and they are grey and brown in colour. They go this colour because the chemicals have broken down the proteins that are in the skin. Chemical burns go a lot deeper than it may first seem so it is harder to make a judgement on the severity of the burn due to the fact that it goes deeper after the first 12 to 24 hours.
This article was written by paramedic, Davy Bagnall; for minor burns he would recommend burns dressings from http://www.firstaid.co.uk/Burns-Dressings-CBURNSDRESSINGS/.