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Four Common Causes of Burn Injuries

Updated June 8, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Burn injuries are not only painful, but they also have the potential to be extremely damaging. Depending on the burn, a victim could come away with extensive skin damage, internal injuries, or even amputation. Medical treatment can be costly and extensive. Rehab, physical therapy, and counseling may be necessary for recovery.

Degrees of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are characterized by four degrees: first, second, third, and fourth.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns affect the outermost layer of the skin, generally causing redness, pain, and discomfort. A first-degree burn can be treated with over-the-counter remedies such as bandages, antiseptic ointments, and topical analgesics.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are more serious. They extend into the underlying skin layer and may cause redness; blisters; stiffening or hardening of tendons, muscles, and other tissue; or severe discomfort. A second-degree burn injury may take three to eight weeks to heal.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns extend through the entire dermis—in other words, all layers of the skin—and into the fatty layer underneath, potentially destroying nerves and leaving scars. These burns are extremely painful and result in waxy, white, leathery skin. Third-degree burns will require immediate medical attention and pain management, such as narcotic pain medication.

Fourth-Degree Burns

Fourth-degree burns penetrate past the skin and fat and into muscle and bone. Fourth-degree burns leave permanent damage to the the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These kinds of burns often require amputation.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

Four common causes of burn injuries include smoke inhalation, thermal contact, electrical equipment, and chemicals.

Smoke Inhalation

Inhaling too much carbon dioxide or other potentially dangerous gasses can cause damage to the respiratory system. Heavy smoke inhalation can block your airways and damage your lungs or suffocate you, even if you aren’t exposed to burns directly. Many lives are lost each year to asphyxiation in house fires.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injury. They are caused by direct contact with an open heat source, such as fire, steam, or a boiling liquid. Sunburns are also a type of thermal burn.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns can happen if a victim interferes with an electric current by gripping an exposed wire, swimming in electrified water, or mishandling machinery. Electrical burns can cause superficial tissue damage.

Chemical Burns

Some industries and jobs that require you to work around dangerous chemicals. When a synthetic, corrosive substance comes into contact with soft tissue—such as skin, eyes, and internal organs—it can result in chemical burns. Certain acids, bases, oxidizers, solvents, thinning agents, and alkylating agents can all have damaging effects on the human body.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been a victim of a burn accident at home or in the workplace, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW are dedicated to seeking justice for every client and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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