What do the degrees of burn injury mean?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2022 | Injuries

Burn injury victims will have their burns classified on a scale from first to third-degree burns. The degree of severity can explain a lot about the injury itself.

On top of that, it also influences how the burn should get treated both in the immediate aftermath of the incident, as well as into the future as the burn continues to heal.

First-degree burns

Temple Health talks about the treatment of burn injuries at different levels of severity. The mildest level of severity includes first-degree burns. A typical sunburn that does not involve blistering falls under this category.

As only the first layer of skin gets affected by a first-degree burn, scarring is not a common issue. Though they can feel painful, the pain is not often debilitating. People can often treat these burns at home with cooling gel and lotions.

Second-degree burns

Second-degree burns affect the top two layers of skin and involve blistering. These burns have a much higher level of associated pain. Scarring may occur, especially if the blistering is particularly intense. A second-degree burn on the face, or one that spans more than 2 to 3 inches anywhere else on the body, counts as a severe injury.

Third-degree burns

Third-degree burns have the highest level of severity and involve all layers of skin. Victims often cannot feel pain due to the destruction of the nerves in the area. Dangerous infections can quickly set in, such as gangrene and sepsis, and it is possible for tissue to necrotize and die.

While a victim should get any burn injury examined by a doctor, it gets increasingly more important as burns get more severe.