A burn is a type of injury to the skin that results in redness, swelling and blistering of the skin. There are three classifications of burns: First degree burns, which are considered mild and affect the outer layer of the skin (epidermis); Second degree burns, which affect both the outer and lower (dermis) layers of the skin; and Third degree burns, which not only affect the outer and lower layers of skin, but it can also affect deeper tissue and result in severe injury.
Burns can be caused by a number of factors, such as fires, hot water or steam, UV rays from the sun, electricity, heated objects such as stoves, chemicals, and even radiation therapy for cancer treatment. As mentioned previously, some of the most common symptoms of burns include redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin, in addition to pain, peeling skin, and white and/or charred skin.
To reduce the risk of common household burns (or fires that can result in burns), keep electrical appliances and cords away from water and don’t leave any candles unattended. If you have young children in your home, keep pot handles pointed towards the rear of the stove, and always test the temperature of food before serving it to a child.
How burns are treated depends on the severity. If you suffer from a first-degree burn, you should soak the affected area of the skin in cool water for 5 minutes. This will help with the initial pain. Dr. Ali Ghahary also recommends taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, like Tylenol or Advil, for additional pain relief and to reduce inflammation, as well as covering the affected area of skin with a non-stick, sterile bandage to keep it protected. Second-degree burns are usually treated with antibiotic creams and/or ointments as prescribed by your doctor, whereas third-degree burns are much more serious and require hospitalization for more intensive treatment, such as intravenous antibiotics or skin grafting.
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