What Are Burns?

A burn is defined as an injury to flesh that is occasioned by heat, electricity, friction, and chemicals. Burns will mostly affect the skin but on rare occasions they can go deeper and affect muscle tissue, bone tissue, and even blood vessels. There are two important issues that are always addressed when dealing with matters burns- first is determining the extent of the burn, and secondly is managing the burn. Burns are classified according to the extent of damage that they occasion. This system of classification was laid down by French barber surgeon Ambroise Pare. This system of classification remains in use today.

Classification of burns

Burns are classified according to their depth of damage. This distinction is based on whether the injury in question is superficial in its damage or whether it is partial in its damage. The latter normally heals on its own, whilst the latter will require some surgical excision. In a nutshell, burns under this system of classification have the following features:

  • First degree burn: This type of burn affects the epidermis. It will normally heal on its own in under a week. The appearance of the surface of this burn is red, although the texture of the burn is rough. The risk that is associated with this sort of burn is that it exacerbates ones chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
  • Second degree burns. This classification is further broken down into two groups. We have second degree burns that have a superficial partial thickness, and those that have a deep partial thickness. The distinctions between the two are explained. In the case of the superficial partial thickness the burn touches the surface layer of the dermis. This is the reverse of the second classification where the burn touches on deeper layers of the dermis. The second degree superficial thickness has a moist texture, and will take some 2-3 weeks before healing occurs. With regard to appearance this burn has appears red and has clear blisters. The possibly complication that might possibly arise from this kind of burn is that the individual might have to battle local infections. On the other hand the second degree burn with deep partial thickness takes weeks to heal, and if managed badly could progress into third degree burns. It has a red and white appearance with bloody blisters. The possible complication that may arise from this   type of burn is that it might in later years require skin excision.
  • Third degree burns. This type of burn might appear horrid but luckily the individual does not feel the pain. Because of the severity of this kind of burn, this sort of burn is managed by excision. Possible complications that might arise on account of a person experiencing this sort of burn are as follows- scarring, and amputation.  The appearance of this burn is white in color and it has a dry and leathery feeling to it; it gets its classification from the fact that in this sort of burn the burn injury extends throughout the entire dermis.
  • Fourth degree burn. This is the most serve burn. In this injury, the burn extends through the subcutaneous layer, the muscle tissue, and even the bone tissue. The skin appears black and charred, and has a dry texture. The only positive from this scenario is that there is no feeling of sensation – in other words it is painless. The possible side effects from this sort of burn are as follows – amputation, possible gangrene, significant functional impairment, and in some case even death.

What Are The Causes Of Burns

Causes of burns there are different causes of burns some of these are listed below:

  • Chemicals- The chemicals that cause burns are either strong acids or bases. Chemical induced burns could either be first, second, or third degree burns. The extent of the burn is hinged upon the potency of the chemical, the duration of exposure, and such related factors.
  • Electrical – This is a second cause of burns. A burn that is occasioned by electricity might be via  an electric shock or an uncontrolled short circuit. Lightning is also a common cause of burns. The tricky situation about burns that are brought on account of electricity is that the extent of injury might not be immediately clear. This is on account of the fact that the bodies physiological processes rely on electric impulses to perform a myriad of functions. Disequilibrium in the electric balance of any of these processes and you are possibly looking at damage being wrought on the body that is beyond a mere skin burn.
  • Radiation – The biggest culprit of burns that are occasioned by radiation is the sun.  The two most common culprits of radiation are two wavelengths of light – UVA and UVB. Tanning booths have been known to emit these wavelengths and are also responsible for this sort of burns.
  • Scalding – This is the most common domestic source of burns. It occurs as a result of a hot liquid or steam coming into contact with the skin. Burns from scalding are usually first or second degree. The burn might however become a third degree burn in the event that there is prolonged exposure to the hot liquid or steam. In the domestic scenario this injury is played out in adults when they immerse themselves in hot bath water, in children   this kind of scenario is usually accidental in nature. At the workplace such a scenario is normally a by product of some accident of sorts.

What Are The Symptoms Of Burns?

Because burns are physical in nature, the symptoms are all too obvious. The symptoms that one should look for in one who has been burned include the following. The most obvious is the appearance of the skin. The skin will have different appearances depending on the degree of burn. In first and second degree burns, the skim might appear blistered. In third degree burns the skin is scalded, whilst in fourth degree burns the skin is charred. Apart from appearance the other dead give away is the texture of the skin. The third give away that one has experienced a burn is the complication that arises on account of burns such as local infection on the surface of the burn, gangrene, et al. In burns however the physical appearance of the skin is the dead give away that a burn has occurred on a particular skin surface.

Home Remedies For Burns

The remedy for a burn is hinged upon the extent of the burn. First and some second degree burns (superficial deep burn) are best addressed by the application of ointments that will bring the skin up to speed in under a fortnight.  The other second degree burn (deep partial thickness) might require skin excision. The same goes for third degree burns. A fourth degree burn on the other hand might necessitate an amputation in extreme cases – where it causes organ failure or functional impairment. Here are some of the home remedies that you can try. You should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself.

  •  Proper dressing of the wound. This calls for regular cleaning of the wound, and replacing the dressing when needed.
  •  Aloe Plant- This is one of the most renowned herbal remedies for burns. You should keep an aloe plant indoors and use it when the need to treat minor burns arises. You are supposed to squeeze juice from the aloe leaf onto the burn. If the burns are larger, trim the outer lead and slice it to scoop out the aloe healing gel. For effective results, it should be applied directly on afflicted skin. Alternatively, you can squeeze the aloe in a jar and add Vitamin E oil to make the remedy more effective.
  • Lavender- This is useful for treatment of burns and it should be applied on the affected area gently. When considering lavender, you should also take St John’s wart oil into consideration because it helps decrease inflammation and also speeds up the pace with which the skin heals.
  • Witch Hazel, Comfrey and Elder Flowers- When these three are combined, they form an effective herbal remedy paste. The infusion should be strong in order to get the desired results. In this case use wet clean gauze lined with the paste and bind it to the burned area. Alternatively, you can also apply the flowers, comfrey leaves and witch hazel directly to the area for immediate relief.
  • Vitamin C- When Vitamin C is taken internally, it also helps with treatment of burns. This is because collagen is produced and this helps form the base for new skin.
  • Raw Garden Produce- Raw garden produce such as bell peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, melons, berries, potatoes and citrus fruits are also effective herbal remedies for burns. These ensure that healing is achieved from the inside.
  • Diluted Vinegar and honey- This is another effective herbal remedy and it can also be used with honey. When honey is applied to burns, they heal faster and chances of scarring are also re

Diet For Burns

One who has experienced a burn to one degree or another has got to foremost ensure that they feed on liquids in large quantities. The greatest liquid that one can possibly feed on is water. Water aides to keep the skin hydrated, and this speeds up the healing process. Apart from water one should feed on minerals and vitamins. The greatest source of these minerals is fruits and vegetables.  Ensure that you feed on minerals such as Potassium (obtained from bananas); Iron, Vitamins (obtained from tropical fruits) and a whole raft of natural foods. Remember as you are dealing with matters convalescing   diet is king. Eating plenty of processed foods mitigates against the healing process and might do grave injury to your course.     

Prevention Of Burns

Fortunately burns can be prevented. And the prevention of burns is not a matter of rocket science, nay. At the workplace the organization should ensure that there is a regularity of risk assessment tests that are carried out to ensure that the work environment is not a tinder box. At the home environment individuals should ensure that their homes are habitable. No exposed sockets, no unregulated hot water taps, nothing of this sort. At the individual level folk should avoid walking out into the rain or lighting fires that they might later be unable to control. If all these issues are adequately addressed, then one thing that you can be sure off is that burns will be a thing of the past.