National Burn Awareness Week: Types of Burns and Levels of Severity

There are various types of burn injuries, all of which are measured by their level of severity. No matter the cause of a burn, they are categorized as first, second, third, of fourth degree burns. The severity is determined based on how many layers of skin and tissue are burned.

Common Types of Burns

Understanding the various types of burns and how they occur is an essential step to prevention and treatment. Among the most common types of burns are:

  • Heat Burns – Heat burns are caused by fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids. Scald burns from hot liquids are the most common type of heat burn.
  • Cold Temperature Burns – Cold temperature burns occur when skin is exposed to wet, windy, or cold conditions.
  • Electrical Burns – Electrical burns are caused by contact with electrical sources or lightning.
  • Chemical Burns – Chemical burns are caused by contact with household or industrial chemicals. These chemicals can be in the form of a liquid, solid, or gas.
  • Radiation Burns – Radiation burns can be caused by the sun, tanning booths, sunlamps, X-rays, or radiation therapy for cancer treatments.
  • Friction Burns – Friction burns are a form of abrasion caused by the friction of skin rubbing against a surface.

Identifying the Severity of a Burn

Less serious burns occur while performing daily activities and can transpire from contact with hot water, curling irons, stoves, etc. Generally, less severe burns can simply be treated through home remedies. More severe burns may injure the skin and damage other parts of the body such as muscles, blood vessels, nerves, lungs, and eyes. Severe burns require immediate medical treatment.

When attempting to identify the severity of a burn, medical professionals will use the following categories.

  • First-Degree Burns: Considered mild compared to other burns, but can still be painful. They result in pain and reddening of the out-layer of skin called the epidermis.
  • Second-Degree Burns: Also referred to as partial thickness burns, second-degree burns affect the epidermis and the dermis (the lower layer of skin). Second-degree burns are generally characterized by swelling and blistering in addition to pain and redness.
  • ThirdDegree Burns: Third-degree burns are referred to as full thickness burns as they pass through the dermis and affect deeper tissues. Third-degree burns result in white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb. The numbness is causes by nerve damage.
  • Fourth-Degree Burns: These burns extend past the skin to the muscle, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. Fourth degree burns are result in extreme damage and always requiring medical treatment.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Burn Injuries?

Burn injuries can occur almost anywhere and can be caused by a multitude of factors, including:

If your burn injury was caused by negligence on the part of an individual or company, you may choose to hire an attorney to help recover damages including past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Contact an Experienced Burn Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a severe burn injury, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. Our experience burn injury lawyers are available to assist you. If you sustained your burn injury due to the negligence of an individual or company, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages from missing work, future earnings, and more. We will handle your case with care and ensure that you are in the best position to achieve the real results you deserve.

Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Contact us today for a free case review.


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