Determining the severity of a burn usually involves the extent of damage to the skin and body tissue. While first-degree burns tend to be superficial and affect the outer layer of skin, second-degree burns are more intense, and affect the dermis, or the skin's second layer.
Usually, second-degree burns are three inches or less in diameter. Most are only mildly severe, and can be treated like a minor, first-degree burn. However, when the affected area is large, or the burn is on the face, feet, hands, buttocks or groin, the major burn to delicate skin requires immediate medical help.
Second-degree burns are classified two different ways, including full or partial thickness. Each one specifically includes:
- Full thickness second-degree burns tend to appear white or red, and look dry. Full thickness usually involves the destruction of most of the upper layers of skin (dermis) and the entire epidermis. The area usually has diminished sensation, and will often need skin grafting or excision to heal completely.
- Partial thickness often involves the presence of blisters at the damaged area site, along with burning of the upper layers of skin (dermis) and the entire epidermis (skin below the top layer). In addition, the wound tends to be red or pink in color, extremely painful, and at times appears wet. When pressure is applied to the wound, it usually becomes blanch in appearance. Complete healing usually requires up to 21 days without the need for grafting. However, minimal scarring usually occurs.
Treating Second-Degree Burns
Second-degree burns three inches or less in diameter can be treated using over-the-counter products and cool running water. By following the simple steps, most moderate burns will heal within a few weeks. The steps include:
- Cool the Burned Area – Holding the burn skin under running cool, but not cold, water for at least 15 minutes will help the pain subside. In addition, it tends to cool the burned area by conducting burning heat out and away from the damaged skin. If dipping or holding the affected burned area under water is impractical, cool the area using a cold compress. Never put ice on any burn.
- Clean the Burn – Never use soap or detergent to clean the burn. Instead, clean the affected burn area using paper or sanitary towels and clean water only. Avoid popping blisters, as a damaged blister can increase the potential of developing an infection below the skin.
- Use Sterilize Gauze Bandages – Avoid using paper towels, soft napkins, tissue, fluffy cotton, or any fiber material, that would allow lint into the wound. Instead, loosely wrap the burned area using sterilize gauze while avoiding any type of pressure on the wound. The bandage will protect the burned and/or blistered area from air while reducing pain.
- Use OTC Pain Relievers – Numerous kinds of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications including Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve (naproxen) and Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen) are usually strong enough to take away the moderate to mildly severe pain caused by a second-degree burn. When providing treatment for teenagers, children and toddlers, it is essential to discuss pain relieving products and safe dosages.
- Check for Infection – It is imperative to check for any sign of infection each morning, afternoon and night, at the same time the bandages are changed. If there are any signs of swelling or infection above or underneath the skin, it is essential to seek out medical care immediately.
Legal Remedies For People Who Have Suffered A 2nd Degree Burn In An Accident
Accidents causing burns through negligence of another usually requires the need to hire an experienced second degree burn accident lawyer. This is because the cost of repairing physical damage including reconstructive surgery, skin grafting, and treatments for severe disfigurement can be expensive. Victims of burns routinely suffer crippling self-image issues, depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other conditions. Healing often takes months or years. Sometimes young burn victims are burden with incalculable emotional costs from peer ridicule and verbal abuse.
It is often necessary to hire a seasoned second degree burn accident lawyer because Illinois personal injury law involving burns is complex. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have a successful history of securing adequate compensation for victims of burn injury accidents suffered through no fault of their own. Call (888) 424-5757 for a free, no-obligation case assessment to discuss a burn injury claim or lawsuit.