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What are the different burn classifications?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Injuries

Burn injuries can occur due to exposure to heat, electricity and chemicals. About half a million people go to the emergency room every year due to burn injuries. While some burn injuries heal at home with no complications, others can result in severe skin damage.

Moderate and severe burn injuries can alter how you function daily.

First-degree burn injuries

First-degree burns are the most common and mild burns. Think of a first-degree burn like a mild sunburn. The top layer of your skin becomes red and painful but does not result in any blistering. These burns do not typically require any medical attention.

Second-degree burn injuries

Second-degree burns are a little more serious. They affect the top and lower layers of the skin. Generally, in a second-degree burn, you will notice redness, blistering and swelling at the site. A small second-degree burn is minor, but if you have second-degree burns that cover 10% of your body and more, then physicians classify the burns as moderate. Doctors also classify burns on the hands, face and feet as moderate to severe.

Third-degree burn injuries

Third-degree burns are the most serious. A third-degree burn affects all three layers of skin, including the fat layer. Additionally, a third-degree burn can damage your sweat glands, hair follicles and nerve endings. You may not experience any pain in your burn but will feel pain adjacent to the site. The skin may turn white, red or black with a leathery appearance.

Third-degree burns can threaten your life and will generally require surgical intervention.