Burns: types and treatments

Burns are one of the most common household injuries, especially among children.  A burn is a type of injury to skin, or other tissues, caused by heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation.Burns are characterized by severe skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die.


There are three primary types of burns: first-, second-, and third-degree. Each degree is based on the severity of damage to the skin, with first-degree being the most minor and third-degree being the most severe.

  • Burns that affect only the superficial skin layers are known as superficial or first-degree burns. They appear red without blisters and pain typically lasts around three days. Superficial burns may be managed with little more than simple pain medication. Cooling with tap water may help pain and decrease damage and you can apply aloe vera gel or cream to soothe the skin.

  • Blisters and some thickening of the skin are caused by second-degree burns.  Healing can require up to eight weeks and scarring may occur. Due to the delicate nature of these wounds, keeping the area clean and bandaging it properly is required to prevent infection.

  • Widespread thickness with a white, leathery appearance, the injury extends to all layers of the skin in third-degree burns. Often there is no pain and the burn area is stiff. Healing typically does not occur on its own. Never attempt to self-treat a third-degree burn. These burns usually require surgical treatments, such as skin grafting.


There are also fourth-degree burns. A fourth-degree burn additionally involves injury to deeper tissues, such as muscle, tendons, or bone. The burn is often black and frequently leads to loss of the burned part. Extensive burns often require large amounts of intravenous fluid, due to capillary fluid leakage and tissue swelling.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
— Winston Churchill...

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill