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Burns and Scalds

Superficial burns over a large area are more dangerous than complete charring of a part of a limb.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 13, 2003 18:08 IST
PTI

Burns are injuries that result from dry heat like fire/flames, pieces of hot metal, contact with live wires, etc. Scalds are caused by moist heat due to boiling water, steam, oil, tar etc.

Chemical Burns are caused by strong acids like Sulphuric or Nitric Acid or by strong alkalies like Caustic Soda.

Nuclear Burns are caused by the instantaneous flash of intense heat given off by a nuclear explosion. It causes burns on the skins of people several miles away.

Degrees of Burn

The degree of burns indicates the degree of damage to the tissues. There are three degrees of burns. They are:

First Degree Burns: The skin is reddened.

Second Degree Burns: There are blisters on the skin.

Third Degree Burns: There is destruction of deeper tissues with scarring.

The danger from burns depends more on the extent of the burns than on the degree. Superficial burns over a large area are more dangerous than complete charring of a part of a limb. On any one person, different parts of the body may show varying degree of burns.

To calculate the extent of burns the "Rule of Nines" is used. The figure below explains the "Rule of Nines".

Why are burns Dangerous?

Burns are dangerous because:

They can very quickly lead to shock in the immediate period following the burn due to loss of excessive fluids from the body.

They produce intense pain.

They lead to infection in the affected area.

When they heal they leave scars behind, which are disfiguring and can restrict movements.

(Source: Webhealthcentre.com)