Close look on a scald

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A scald is a type of burn brought about by something watery such as hot water or steam. Those who are at risk include children below 5 years old and elderly over 65 years old.

A scald can cause discomfort and skin damage from moist heat or vapors. Remember that this type of burn is considered dangerous since it involves the tissues and cells. The body might go into a state of shock from the heat. In severe cases, the burn can be life-threatening.

What are the causes?

A scald can occur by accident but can be prevented. The injury is often brought about by minor accidents while in a rush or under pressure such as:

  • Being burned by spilling a hot soup or beverage on the skin
  • Steam from the microwave or oven
  • Tap water burns if the water heater is at a level higher than 120 degrees F
    Close look on a scald
    A scald can cause discomfort and skin damage from moist heat or vapors.

This type of burn is prevalent in the restaurant business. Take note that a spill or accident can result to serious burns in just seconds.

What are the effects?

Scalds are considered painful and dangerous. The seriousness of the symptoms is based on the severity of the burn.

There are 4 categories based on the degree of damage to the skin:

  • Superficial epidermal burn – the outer skin layer is affected which results to swelling, redness and pain.
  • Superficial dermal burn – the dermis is reached where the nerve endings, hair follicles and blood vessels are affected. The site appears pale pink with some pain and mild blistering.
  • Deep dermal burn – the first 2 skin layers are affected, and the site is either painful or painless. The skin appears red with or without moisture along with blisters and swelling.
  • Full-thickness burn – this is the serious form of burn that affects all the skin layers and requires immediate medical care. The skin texture becomes leathery or waxy and the skin is blackened.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on scald is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to care for this injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Missisauga First Aid.

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