Burns are life-threatening injuries for patients of almost any age regardless of their present health condition. While the majority of the burns are minor, certain myths need to be dispelled for avoiding incidences where these injuries are made worst. Proper recognition of a burn can help in administering proper treatment that can further help in minimizing swelling and pain. When people are aware of the different categories or degrees of burns, they will be able to prevent the burns from becoming infected. Remember, infectious burns can result in the death of the victim.
What are Second-Degree Burns and How Are They Caused?
Burns tend to be the most common injuries, especially in children. Burns that are caused by flames, scald injuries, chemicals, sunburn and electricity fall under the category of second-degree burns. The meaning of the term “burn” is something more than just a burning sensation that is associated with an injury. Even second-degree burns can result in serious skin damages resulting in the death of the cells of the affected skin. Majority of the victims can recover from this level of burn without any serious health problems. However, the more serious burns or the third-degree burns need immediate medical attention for preventing health complications and death.
Symptoms of Second Level Burns
Burns falling in the category of second-degree injuries are partial thickness burns, and the most common symptoms of these burns are:
- Deep redness
- Burnt area might appear shiny and wet
- Burn might be discolored or white and might appear in irregular patterns
- Burn might result in skin that is quite painful when touched
Second level burns can result in skin damages extending beyond the first layer of the skin. Such burns heal within a time span of two to three weeks and do not cause scarring. However, there might be pigment changes in the skin. It is necessary to get urgent medical attention if the burnt area of the skin is quite large and the second-degree burn is on the buttocks, face, groin, and hands. Second level burns should not be taken lightly mainly because damages to the skin might extend beyond the first layer. There are some burns in this category that take longer to get healed, but these burns heal within three weeks without causing scars.
It is important to note that the signs of second level burns might be identical to the symptoms of other medical problems and conditions. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Emergency First Aid Care for Second Degree Burns
Second level burns tend to be more serious mainly because they form blisters and result in the thickening of the burnt skin. With such burns, the affected area of the skin can swell, ooze and appear wet when the blisters burst. Emergency first aid care for second level burns include
- Running the burnt skin under cold water for around 15 minutes. This helps in stopping the pain caused by the burn. It is essential to note that ice water should not be used on the burn because it might result in tissue damage. Cool compresses are a good option.
- Mild water and soap can be used for cleaning the injury. Some burnt skin is likely to get washed off, but victims need to be careful enough not to pop the blisters. If blisters pop, the skin or the injury can get infected.
- Applying antibiotic lotion or cream to the blisters.
- Bandaging the affected area of the skin with a non-stick and loosely wrapped bandage can help in preventing infection.
- Taking pain relief medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Elevating the burnt area a bit can decrease swelling.
Healthcare professionals are well aware of the best method of treating second level burns quickly and most effectively. However, the serious cases of such burns might require skin grafting. This is a process that involves making use of healthy skin from other parts of the body to serve as a replacement for burnt skin in another part of the body. This is done for fixing the damage caused by second level burns. Superficial second level burns get healed very fast provided the wound is kept protected and clean. However, deep and more serious burns in this category can take longer to heal.
Burn Specialists Are the Ones Who Can Determine the Right Treatment for Such Burns Depending On:
- The overall health, age and also the medical history of the victim
- Location of the burn
- Extent or severity of the burn
- Cause of the burn
- The victim’s tolerance for certain procedures, therapies, and medicines
- The victim’s preference or opinion
It is to be noted that these burns do not cover more than 10% of the surface of the skin and thus they can easily be treated in outpatient settings.
Treatment For Second Stage Burns Available In Outpatient Settings Includes:
- Use of antibiotic ointments
- Regular cleaning of the injury and the removal of dead ointment or skin
- Changing the dressing of the injury once or twice daily depending on the extent of the burn
- Use of systemic antibiotics
Dressing changes and wound cleaning are painful procedures. It is only because of this reason that doctors use pain relievers or analgesics while carrying out these procedures.
So, as the popular saying goes “Prevention is better than cure,” it is always imperative for people to prevent all degrees of burns instead of being the victims of such burns. Preventing burns is obviously one of the best ways of fighting them. Some preventive measures can be taken to avoid all degrees of burns. A little bit of care and attention can save you from the hassle of undergoing both emotional and physical damages.