Definition of Burns
A burn is defined as any destruction of skin or body tissue resulting from heat, chemicals, radiation, or electricity. The severity of a burn depends several factors:
- the amount of body surface area, also called BSA, that is injured
- the depth of destruction
- the location of the burn
What are the signs and symptoms of the injury?
First-degree burns are the least severe. They affect only the outer layer of the skin. The person may experience tingling and hypersensitivity of the skin. There may be pain that is soothed by cooling measures. The wound may appear reddened, but turn white briefly when pressed. The area is dry, with little or no swelling.
Second-degree burns affect both the outer and underlying layers of skin. Symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. The wound may have a weeping surface.
Third-degree burns cause the deepest damage. The skin is affected. Subcutaneous tissue, connective tissue, muscle, or bone may also be damaged. The surface of the burn may be white and soft, or black, charred, and leathery. The burned area has no feeling when touched. Third-degree burns usually are not painful because the nerve endings in the skin have been destroyed. In the case of burns caused by electricity, there may be wounds at entry and exit sites.