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What do the stages of burn injuries mean?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2022 | Injuries |

You may have heard of the different stages of burn injuries before, or perhaps you have heard of the terms associated with these categories.

The categories of burn injuries exist as valuable tools that doctors can use to quickly evaluate the severity of a burn victim’s state of health and determine what actions to take. But what do these stages mean?

First and second-degree burns

Stanford Health Care discusses the different stages of a burn injury. First, you have superficial burns, also known as first-degree burns. Sunburns often fall under this category. It only affects the epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin. It does not result in blistering, though the skin is often red, dry and painful.

Next are partial-thickness burns, or second-degree burns. These burns involve both the epidermis as well as the layer of skin below, i.e. the dermis. Though the layers are not usually fully destroyed, they often suffer a fair amount of damage. This is the stage at which the skin may blister, though it is often still red. It may also swell.

Third-degree burns

The final category is full-thickness burns or third-degree burns. This is the most severe type of burn and involves the full epidermis and dermis layers, which often end up destroyed. In fact, some third-degree burns involve the muscle, tendons or even bones below the skin, too. Victims may not feel pain due to nerve damage, and the skin often looks charred or white.

It is important to get a professional medical opinion even for the treatment of first-degree burns. However, second and third-degree burns require immediate medical intervention and treatment, along with extensive rehabilitation and may still result in massive scarring.