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June 19th, 2019
Healthy Lifestyles

burnBurns do not discriminate and can affect men, women, children, and seniors. The Miami Burn Center advises that burn injuries are the nation’s third largest cause of accidental death, resulting in 6,000 fatalities each year and annually causing 300,000 serious injuries. Because burns are largely preventable, it is important to understand how they’re caused and how to prevent them. Understanding the treatment options available to get on the road to recovery can help burn victims and their families, too.

The health and wellness resource Healthline defines burns  as injury to the tissues of the body resulting in skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die. Burns can result from exposure to heat, flames, ultraviolet radiation, electricity, steam, and chemicals. While many people can recover from burns without repercussions, serious burns can lead to complications and even death.

Burn stages

Burns are classified in one of three stages.

  • • First-degree burn: These are superficial burns that only affect the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. The site of the burn can be painful, red and dry. Long-term skin damage is rare.
  • • Second-degree burns: Burns of this nature affect the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. Symptoms include red, blistered, swollen, and painful skin.
  • • Third-degree burns: With third-degree burns, the epidermis and dermis are destroyed. These burns also may impact underlying muscles, tendons and bones. The burn site appears charred or white, and there is little to no sensation since nerve endings are destroyed.

Burn treatments

Minor burns usually can be treated at home. Avoid ice and cotton balls. Ice can make damage worse, and the cotton fibers can stick to the injury and increase risk of infection, warns Healthline. A cool-water soak, pain relief medicines and the application of lidocaine or aloe vera gel to soothe the skin is advised.

If the burn is oozing, lightly cover it with sterile gauze if available; otherwise, use a clean sheet or a towel. Seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to pull away clothing or fabric from a burn. Cut away as much as possible and then go to the hospital, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Electrical and chemical burns also require prompt medical attention.

Burn prevention

To help prevent burns, follow these tips.

  • • Check smoke alarms regularly to ensure they’re functioning at full capacity.
  • • Do not play with matches, flammable materials or fireworks.
  • • Do not leave food cooking unattended.
  • • Exercise caution when handling plugs and outlets.
  • • Apply sunscreen and adhere to sun-safety time limits.
  • • Read labels for all chemical products and use them in the manner in which they’re intended to be used.
  • • Adjust hot water heater temperatures.

Burns are almost always preventable. Learning about burns and how to prevent them is a great first step toward reducing your risk of suffering a burn. 

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