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BURNS


What are Burns?

Burns cause injuries mainly to the skin and tissue. In human body, the skin is the largest organ that plays a major role in regulating its fluid and temperature. The skin also acts as a major barrier against possible infection. As a result, when burns affect a large part of the skin, it can no longer control the body’s fluid and temperature or protect it against infection. If the damage caused to the skin is quite severe, this may lead to a life-threatening situation. Burns can be classified into three main categories: first-degree burns, second-degree burns and third-degree burns. Another type, called inhalation burns, cause swelling in airways and make breathing difficult.

Symptoms of Burns
The symptoms of burns depend on the depth and severity of the damage. The depth of burns depends on which of the three skin layers has been affected. In first-degree burns, the outermost layer of the skin, called the epidermis is affected. Such burns usually cause redness, pain or tenderness and swelling. Blisters are not usually formed. The recovery time is often a week, with peeling and temporary, mild changes in skin tone. Second-degree burns, damage the second layer called the dermis. These burns are often pink in color, soft, moist and very painful. Blisters appear in this case and fluid may ooze out of the skin. These burns need between two and six weeks to heal depending on the damage to the dermis. They may leave scars on the skin. Third-degree burns damage the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis, the third layer of skin affecting the full thickness of the skin in the process. Such burns affect fat, nerves, muscles and bones. Third-degree burns cause the skin to look a filmy white. One does not feel pain in the area because nerve endings suffer damage.



Causes of Burns

Burns may be caused by various factors. Most burns are called flame burns because they are caused by fire. This may directly cause injury to the skin and tissue. The injury caused in the skin by a hot liquid a scald. Its severity depends on the thickness of the liquid and the duration of contact. When a hot object damages the skin, it is a contact burn that is mostly confined to the part of skin that touched the object. Sunburn is the skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays, which are emitted from the sun. Electrical burns, caused by electric currents, are quite deep and may cause severe damage to the skin and its underlying tissue. Chemical burns occur when one comes in contact with flammable liquids or gases. Inhaling hot gases may affect the upper airways, making breathing difficult.

Treatment of Burns
Natural and Ayurvedic: If second-degree burns are spread over, say, 10 to 15 percent of the area of the body or if third-degree burns are suspected, the affected person should be immediately taken to a doctor or hospital for medical treatment. Medical attention is also needed if burns affect the eyes, ears, face, or feet. However, in case these parts haven't been affected, or if there's no blistering, it may not be necessary to seek medical attention.

Home Remedies:
For minor, first-degree burns, cool moist compresses should be applied immediately without exerting pressure on the burned area. A water-based skin moisturizer may be applied if there are no blisters. In the case of second-degree burns, the skin should be placed in cool water. In case the skin is broken, gently wash it by rinsing well with a saline solution. A doctor should be consulted if there are blisters.

In the case of more serious third-degree burns, emergency medical services must be called without any delay. This is aimed at preventing infection (which is a major problem in most burn victims), removing dead tissue, and covering the wound with skin as early soon as possible. Never apply cold water or try to remove the clothing that's stuck to the burn. Cover the burn loosely with a clean, dry dressing. People having electrical burns should always consult a doctor because although apparently innocuous, they may cause problems later.




 
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