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Burns and scars

 Causes
 Risk group
 Symptoms
 Location
 Where to seek help and advice
 Treatment
Prevention


Causes

Burns are the result of the action of high temperature, chemical corrosion or current. The most common causes of burns is the heat, which may come from boiling water, steam, hot liquids or semi-liquids like fat or paraffin, as well as burns caused by household appliances.

In electrical burns the main damaging agent is high voltage passing through tissues and heating them. Chemical burns are usually caused by the action of acids or usual alkalis. Regardless of the genesis,  burns are specific types of injuries and can cause serious complications for the patient.

Risk group

The risk of burns should be considered in all people, but most of all:

  • children at the age 2 to 4 years
  • adults working in hazardous conditions (miners, steelworkers, firefighters, welders, etc.)

Symptoms

The main factor determining the type of burn is its depth, by which we distinguish the following types of burns:

  • First degree (superficial) – affects only superficial layers of the epidermis. The main symptoms of the damage is vivid red erythema and pain. The wound usually heals without complications and leaves no scars.
  • Second degree A (superficial partial thickness) – affects almost the entire layer of the epidermis and superficial dermis. Wounds are usually vivid red, very painful, and are characterised by blisters. 2nd degree burn injury may leave slight discoloration, and sometimes scars.
  • Second degree B (deep partial thickness) – the epidermis and deeper dermis layers are destroyed. In this type of injury superficial epidermal and skin necrosis is observed. This type of injury is very painful, blistering free, pale or pink, grey, brick red and even black. Moreover, they can leave negative hypertrophic scars.
  • Third degree (full thickness) – extends through entire dermis. The wounds usually are pale brown, brown, pale yellow or red. They leave scars and can lead even to amputation.
  • Fourth degree – extends through the entire skin, and into underlying fat, muscles, tendons, bones, joints.

Location

Burns occur in places of body contact with thermal factors.

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Typically this affects:

  • trunk
  • upper limbs
  • lower limbs

Where to seek help and advice

First degree burns

can be treated at home, and if there is in the progress in the treatment or complications appear consult your GP

Second and third degree burns

a hydrogel dressing should be applied as soon as possible, e.g. Medisorb G and immediately consult your doctor or contact the emergency station

Fourth degree burns

immediately contact the emergency station or the nearest hospital

Treatment

Depending on the burn degree the treatment is carried out in different ways.

First degree burns – affect only the epithelium. The place that was burned is red, slightly swollen and dry. The victim feels strong burning sensation. Quick application of a hydrogel dressing such Medisorb G allows for quick healing of the wound.

Second degree burns – damage the dermis. It becomes red, and on the surface there are blisters formed that fill with fluid tissue. Second degree burns are very painful. Similarly to the first degree burns rapid response using hydrogel dressings such Medisorb G allows for quick healing. If the burn is extensive, it requires hospitalisation.

Three and four degree burns – affect the tissue located under the skin. Also the connective tissue, blood vessels, muscles, and nerves can get damaged. The skin may take on waxy appearance, whitish or charred colour. The victim may not feel any pain because nerve endings have been destroyed. This type of burns require immediate medical help, sometimes even a skin graft or recovery in the hyperbaric chamber might be needed.

A common complication after recovering from burn wounds are hypertrophic scars and joint contractures. Their long recovery should be carried out using pressotherapy or rehabilitation of scars by means of compression products such as Codopress® combined with silicone dressings Codosil® ADHESIVE.

Prevention

Past statistics show that each year different types of burns affect about 1% of our population. According to these data, the number of Poles affected by various types of burns is up to 400 000 patients per year. Burns are very often associated with the type of activity of patients, as well as with age. Approximately 50-80% of burn victims are mainly children at the age 2 to 4 years.

Prevention of burns should primarily focus on the preparation of the house where the little man will feel safe:

  • Never leave a young child alone.
  • Avoid placing hot drinks, soups or dishes taken out directly from the oven on a table.
  • In homes with young children – especially those crawling ones – there should be no tablecloths – pulling by the tablecloth a child pull down everything what stands on the table.
  • Do not leave a turned on iron in the room, where a child is present; a turned off iron must cool down and also be out of reach of children.
  • When cooking meals try to do use gas jets at the wall – those being away from your baby; you can use a special shield that prevents a child from touching a hot pot or pull it down.
  • Owners of ceramic cooking plates should be aware that a turned off plate does not allow the child to notice the danger, and touching it before it cooled down can result in serious burns.

To sum up – parents should not leave their children unattended!