Burns Essay

Burns: The Human Skin Essay

“Living with Burn Trauma,” an online article, states that “human skin is the largest organ of the body.” It provides many functions which assist humans to survive. What happens if this vital organ is destroyed? This is a question with which thousands of Americans are challenged annually. In the United States alone, 4,000 people die in burn accidents or from complications of burn injuries (“Prevention”). One common misconception is that burn victims have all come into contact with flames. Burns result from fires, electricity, hot liquids, chemicals, and even ultraviolet rays. Seeking medical attention for a proper diagnosis is critical to ensuring quality treatment and management of burns. Burn Centers have been established to help patients adapt to life after burns, which can be a great challenge. In today’s society, hospitals and medical professionals can treat burn victims, but the best remedy for burns is prevention.
Burns are caused by many different factors. Heat burns are caused by fire, steam, hot objects, electricity, ultraviolet rays and hot liquids (Living With Burn Trauma). According to “Prevention,” an online article, the “Leading causes of fire and burn death and injury for older adults are smoking, cooking, scalds, electrical, and heating.” When one is burned, a instinct called “fight or flight” catalyzes. “Fight or Flight” causes one’s breathing and pulse to increase. When this happens, their adrenal glands release a hormone that causes pain to diminish causing some to vaguely remember their accident (Living With Burn Trauma). Many times because a victim begins to breathe rapidly, they can experience respiratory complications from the burns often resulting in respiratory failure (“First Aid and Emergencies”).
Human skin is organized in three layers: epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous. Under the subcutaneous layer is muscle. Doctors use these layers to diagnosis the degree of a victims burns. Burn severity is measured into four degrees. First degree burns injure the epidermal layer. Second degree burns can be classified as superficial partial thickness and deep partial thickness which injures the epidermal and dermal layers. Third degree or full thickness burns injure all layers of the skin (“First Aid and Emergencies”). Furthermore, fourth degree burns burn skin, muscle, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and even bones (Living with Burn Trauma).
First degree burns are the most common type of burns. This type of burns injures the first layer of the skin called the epidermis. The epidermis is composed of squamos cells, which are flat, scale-like cells (Living with Burn Trauma). A victim that has a first degree burn has pink or red skin color and painful swelling. Typically, these burns will heal without scars. Healing occurs rapidly because the skin cells multiply causing a new skin layer to be regenerated (Living with Burn Trauma). According to “Hamilton General Hospital,” a PDF file, first degree burns will usually...

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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

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