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What are third-degree burns?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Burn Injuries

Burn injuries not only cause discomfort, but they can also require ongoing treatment and therapy when severe. This is the case with third-degree burns, which can lead to serious and lasting health effects.

Third-degree burns cause substantial damage to the skin. These injuries impact the top, middle, and fatty layers of the skin, while first and second-degree burns only affect the two layers of the skin. Serious burns require immediate assistance from a healthcare professional, so proper identification is crucial. Here are a few important points to consider.

Symptoms of third-degree burns

Unlike other types of burn injuries, third-degree burns are not always painful. That is because these injuries can damage nerves in the skin, which then reduces painful sensations. In terms of physical effects, skin may appear discolored, either red, white, or black. Skin may also appear inflamed and dry, with a texture similar to leather.

Common causes

Third-degree burns result from prolonged contact with flames, a source of heat, chemicals, or light. House and vehicle fires can easily cause severe burns, but there are many other causes to be aware of. For instance, exposure to caustic chemicals can cause such burns, as can exposure to electricity.

Hot water can also be the source of third-degree burns, as can steam. Bodily contact with an extremely hot object is another possible cause, along with radiation.

How to treat third-degree burns

Emergency medical assistance is a must when it comes to third-degree burns. In this case, a doctor can thoroughly clean the wound to reduce the risk of infection. Next, the doctor will cover the injury with a sterile bandage, while also providing you with instructions on home care and cleaning. You may also receive medication, including antibiotics and pain medicine. With severe third-degree burns, a skin graft might be necessary.