When you suffer a burn injury, the doctor is not going to treat your wound in the same manner as he would someone else's. Each burn is cared for depending on its severity. The medical field classifies burns under six broad categories, though fourth, fifth, and sixth degree burns are mentioned less often because of their infrequency.
Below we've included descriptions of each burn classification, but if you are not sure what type of burn you have, don't be afraid to seek a medical professional's opinion. It’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to burn injuries.
Types of Burn Injuries
First Degree Burns
A first degree burn is the least serious type of burn. It is known as a superficial burn, in which only the outer layer of skin has been affected. Your skin will usually be red and possibly swollen, and the burn itself may be slightly painful. It may appear to be sunburn-like. In most cases, you can treat first degree burns on your own. However, if the burn is especially large or covers a portion of your face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin, or a major joint, you may want to visit your medical provider for an evaluation.
Second Degree Burns
A second degree burn is also known as a partial thickness burn, but with this classification, both the first and second layers of skin have been damaged. Second degree burns differs from a first degree burn because blisters containing clear fluids could develop, the skin may become very red and splotchy, and it will likely be very swollen and painful. However, like first degree burns, if it is not too large—three inches or less—you can probably treat it on your own at home. If your wound covers any areas we described under the first degree burn, consider heading to the emergency room for a medical opinion.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns are known as full thickness burns, involving all layers of the skin, and can cause permanent tissue damage. The burn area could look charred black or dry and white. This classification require medical attention. Because muscle and bone can be affected, an immediate emergency response is needed to assess the damage and take urgent action. Improperly treated third degree burns can lead to loss of a limb or death.
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Degree Burns
Fourth, fifth, and sixth degree burns are the most serious classification of burn injuries and require immediate medical attention. They are also full thickness burns, but they extend beyond the layers of skin and can damage underlying tissue, including fat (fourth degree), muscle (fifth degree) and bone (sixth degree). The affected skin may be charred black or white and hard to the touch, and because all nerve endings are destroyed, the injured person may not feel pain. These burns are very serious injuries that can even lead to death.
Contact a Columbia Burn Injury Attorney Today
If your burn injury was the result of another person's negligence, contact a Columbia burn injury lawyer at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger. Burn injury cases are complex. There are often questions about liability and what medical treatment is necessary for the injured person. Before speaking with the insurance company, please consider speaking with an injury attorney first. You can call 803-790-2800 today to schedule your free consultation, or you can start a live chat to speak to a team member at any time.