Burning injuries are the second leading cause of death in the United States after car accidents, and those that manage to survive are often left with scars, disfigurement, or an inability to move their limbs. Below is a list of the most common types of burn injuries that emergency medical technicians encounter.
Types of Burn Injuries
Contact burns result from coming into direct physical contact with an object that is extremely hot, along with gases, liquids, and steam. Any object that is capable of conducting heat can cause such burns, including metal, and these types of burns are particularly dangerous because the heat source might stick to one’s skin during contact, which compels them to forcibly remove their skin that might be torn off, causing further damage.
These burning injuries most frequently occur when one is exposed to boiling water or other liquids. The extent of the damage will depend on the amount of time that liquid is present on the skin, its temperature, and its composition. In addition to the liquid itself, any steam that is emitted from it can also burn the skin, and common examples of this range from microwave and restaurant foods to hazardous chemicals.
When it comes to fire hazards, most people focus primarily on the flames, and while these are certainly dangerous, the inhalation of smoke and fume is equally so. Once smoke enters the body, it will compromise one’s breathing ability, and can also rapidly incapacitate someone which then makes them vulnerable to the actual flames. In fact, studies consistently show that fire victims succumb to smoke inhalation far more often than the fire itself.
Chemicals are used daily for a multitude of tasks, such as cleaning and industrial processing. However, if these products are not handled in the correct manner, burn injuries can result. Damage is sustained when the corrosive substances are placed on skin tissue, and because these substances tend to be quite acidic, the injury can include third or even secondary degree burns based on the skin layer which is afflicted.
There are certain occupations in which workers have greater risks of sustaining chemical burns if they are not careful. In fact, research shows that the majority of chemical injuries are sustained on the job, and those that work in construction, the industrial industry, or the automotive business are at the greatest risk. Chemists and mechanics regularly handle such chemicals and must exercise caution when doing so.
This is an injury where one’s skin comes into direct contact with fire and is the most frequent burn injury treated by doctors. It is particularly dangerous because these burns will spread rapidly if there are objects in the environment that are flammable. Fires usually result from cooking accidents, electrical wiring that has become faulty, vehicular collisions, smoking cigarettes or cigars carelessly, and arson, where the fire is intentionally set.