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A burn is damage to your body's tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight, or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns. Another kind is an inhalation injury, caused by breathing smoke.
There are three types of burns:
- First-degree burns damage only the outer layer of skin
- Second-degree burns damage the outer layer and the layer underneath
- Third-degree burns damage or destroy the deepest layer of skin and tissues underneath
Burns can cause swelling, blistering, scarring and, in serious cases, shock, and even death. They also can lead to infections because they damage your skin's protective barrier. Treatment for burns depends on the cause of the burn, how deep it is, and how much of the body it covers. Antibiotic creams can prevent or treat infections. For more serious burns, treatment may be needed to clean the wound, replace the skin, and make sure the patient has enough fluids and nutrition.
NIH: National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Treatments and Therapies
- Aloe Vera (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Blisters: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Skin graft - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- What Do I Need in My First Aid Kit? (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- How to Help a Person with a Serious Burn Injury (Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors)
- Chemical Burns: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Electrical Burns: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Fireworks Safety (National Fire Protection Association) - PDF
- Risk of Burns from Eruptions of Hot Water Overheated in Microwave Ovens (Food and Drug Administration)
- Scald Burns (Burn Institute) - PDF
Videos and Tutorials
- Burn Prevention for Families with Children with Special Needs (Safe Kids Worldwide)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Burns (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Antimicrobial Peptide Dendrimers and Quorum-Sensing Inhibitors in Formulating Next-Generation Anti-Infection Cell...
- Article: Application Of Cling Film Over Burn Wounds (Occlusive Wound Dressing): Our...
- Article: Complications using tissue expanders in burn sequelae treatment at a reference...
- Burns -- see more articles