Always remember that second and third degree burns require attention. It is important that you are familiar on how to provide the appropriate first aid care on all degrees of burns in order to prevent further damage until medical care is provided.
Caring for a second degree burn
A second degree burn already affects a deep layer of the skin and has a higher risk for infection and more painful. The affected skin becomes bright red in color with mottled areas and blisters. The affected area appears wet due to the loss of fluid through the damaged skin.
If the burn covers more than 20% of the skin area, the individual might suffer shock due to the fluid loss and dehydration. Take note that second degree burns larger than 2-3 inches must be treated by the medical team. As for smaller burns, they can be treated at home.
What to do for a second degree burn?
When treating a second degree burn that has open blisters, do not attempt to remove any clothing that is stuck on the burn. Do not use water on the burn since it will only increase the risk for shock. Cover the affected area with a clean and dry gauze pad.
Doctors usually prescribed antibiotics since the damaged skin could no longer protect the body from infection. The burned area is bandaged with an antibacterial dressing. In most cases, doctors will recommend skin grafting to minimize the scarring. A tetanus booster is usually given to the individual. Second degree burns typically heal in 10 day up to 2 weeks. If the burn is not extensive and infection was prevented, there is minimal scarring or no scars at all.
Caring for third degree burns
A third degree burn completely penetrates all the skin layers. This injury is caused by immersion in hot water, direct contact with fire, electricity, contact with hot objects and exposure to corrosive chemicals.
Third degree burns are characterized by black, white or leathery skin. The individual feels minor pain or no pain at all in the affected area, but the surroundings areas can be painful. It is important to seek immediate emergency care for this type of burn.
In this type of burn, the individual can easily go into shock due to the fluid loss. It is vital to recognize the symptoms of shock such as rapid and shallow breathing, loss of consciousness and vomiting. While waiting for the medical team to arrive, place the individual in a lying position with the feet elevated. Cover him/her with a blanket to maintain the body heat. The burned area must be elevated higher than the heart. Nevertheless, if the burn is on the face or neck or experiencing breathing difficulty, keep the head and shoulders slightly elevated.
If the individual is conscious and not vomiting, you can allow him/her to take small sips of water. In case the individual is in the state of shock, do not provide any liquids to drink.