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What are burn injuries?

California residents may be interested to learn that a burn injury is defined as severe skin damage caused by excessive heat, resulting in the death of affected cells. Burns can range from the slight discomfort of touching a too-hot cup of coffee to the life-threatening damage caused by a house fire or propane explosion.

Burns are classified according to their degree of severity. A first-degree burn is the least harmful — while the pain may be considerable, the only physical symptom is redness of the skin. A second-degree burn involves blistering and slight thickening of the skin. A third-degree burn is extremely severe, with thick, leathery skin that is waxy or charred. The rarely discussed fourth-degree burn is even more dangerous, with damage extending into the deep muscle tissue and bones.

First-degree burns can usually be treated at home. Soak the burned skin in cold water for at least five minutes, apply aloe vera gel to the injury and wrap it with loose gauze and antibiotic ointment. Don’t use ice — this can actually make the burn injury worse. Second-degree burns should be given professional medical attention, though they can be treated like first-degree burns with longer water immersion and frequently-changed bandages. Third-degree burns or worse require immediate emergency medical treatment. Call 911 and raise the burned area above your heart until help arrives.

If you have suffered a severe burn injury due to the negligence of another person or organization, you might want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured, as well as recover the considerable costs that months or even years of medical treatment may entail. Every situation is unique, however, and this post should not be considered legal advice.

Source: Health Line, “Burns: Types, Treatments, and More“, November 20, 2014

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