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2nd Degree Burns

A burn is a damage or an injury to the tissues of the body and is usually classified according to the amount and depth of tissue affected in the body. A 2nd degree burn involves the top layer of the skin - that is the epidermis and also extends down in small part of dermis – deeper layer of the skin. Some common causes for 2nd degree burns include hot liquids, contact with flames, chemicals or severe sunburn. The term used for burns which are caused by heat is 'thermal burn' and the ones caused by hot steam or a hot liquid is 'scalds'.

The skin becomes extremely red and blistered due to which a person with 2nd degree burns feel lot of pain.

In response to the pain the pulse rate of the victim usually increases. Due to fluid loss the skin with burns may also look wet. Although small 2nd degree burns can heal faster without much scarring, larger burns can cause the victim to go in to shock. Shock is the state which occurs when there is excess loss of fluid due to burns. This fluid loss in turn causes the blood pressure to fall so low that it fails to reach the brain and other major organs. A person with shock may experience rapid pulse and breathing, general weakness, fainting, nausea and vomiting, cold, pale and moist skin and a blue tinge to the finger nails and the lips. It is wise to consult a specialist immediately if the burn area is larger and deeper and if the burn is on face, feet, hand and genital region.

A 2nd degree burn is considered minor if it covers less than 15% of an adult's body or less than 10% of a child's body (below 9 years). It is considered moderate if it covers 15-25% of an adult's body and 10-20% of a child's body. 2nd degree burns are critical when present on hands, feet, and face or genital and if it covers more than 25% of an adult's body and more than 20% of a child's body. The percentage of burns is assessed by a specialist depending on the total body surface area affected.

Moderate and critical 2nd degree burns will require medical attention but minor burns can be treated with home care. The main goal to treat moderate and severe 2nd degree burns is to reduce pain and avoid any possibility of infection. On an average a 2nd degree burn will take 10 days - 3 weeks to heal depending on the tissue damaged.

Submitted on January 16, 2014