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Burn injuries and how they are classified

When someone suffers a burn, the severity of the injury can vary. Arkansas residents may want to understand the types of burns that can occur because serious burns need prompt medical attention. Burns range in degree from first to third, and first-degree burns are the least intense. These burns cause redness, pain and swelling but only harm the skin's outer layer.

Second-degree or partial thickness burns damage the underlying layer of skin along with the outer layer. In addition to sharing the characteristics of first-degree burns, these burns also form blisters. Third-degree burns are the most dangerous type of burn and hurt the deep layers of skin. These full thickness burns can cause black or white burned skin and numbness.

All first-degree burns are considered minor, and all third-degree burns are called major burns. Second-degree burns are classified as major when the burns are on the face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin or a major joint or are more than 2-3 inches wide. Both major and minor burns could exist on a person's body simultaneously.

Burns are most commonly received from flames, scalding liquids or steam but may also be caused by chemicals or electricity. While circumstances vary, burns may be the result of car accidents, fires, kitchen accidents, playing with matches or improper use of firecrackers.

Even minor burns can cause pain and inconvenience, and severe burns could lead to shock, infection, scarring or disability. This makes it important to receive the proper treatment after suffering burn injuries. When an incident that caused a burn injury resulted from another party's negligence, a personal injury claim may allow a victim to seek compensation for expenses related to burns like lost wages and medical bills. Depending on the situation, a claim could be filed with one's own or another person's insurance company.

Source: MedlinePlus, "Burns", October 20, 2014

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