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Burn Degrees

Burn Classification

Determining burn depth is important. Things to consider are temperature, mechanism, duration of contact, blood flow to skin, and anatomic location. Epidermal depth varies with body surface, which can offer varying degrees of thermal protection. Older adults and young children also have thinner skin
First degree:
  • Includes only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis
  • Skin is usually red and very painful
  • Equivalent to superficial sunburn without blisters
  • Dry in appearance
  • Healing occurs in 3-5 days, injured epithelium peels away from the healthy skin
  • Hospitalization is for pain control and maybe fluid imbalance
 
Second degree: Can be classified as partial or full thickness.
Partial thickness
  • Blisters can be present
  • Involve the entire epidermis and upper layers of the dermis
  • Wound will be pink, red in color, painful and wet appearing
  • Wound will blanch when pressure is applied
  • Should heal in several weeks (10-21 days) without grafting, scarring is usually minimal
Full thickness
  • Can be red or white in appearance, but will appear dry.
  • Involves the destruction of the entire epidermis and most of the dermis
  • Sensation can be present, but diminished
  • Blanching is sluggish or absent
  • Full thickness will most likely need excision & skin grafting to heal
 
Third degree:
  • All layers of the skin are destroyed
  • Extends into the subcutaneous tissues
  • Areas can appear, black or white and will be dry
  • Can appear leathery in texture
  • Will not blanch when pressure is applied
  • No pain
If you, a member of your family, or someone you know has suffered a serious burn injury due to someone else's negligence, please contact Neal Law.

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