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burns and scalds




Injuries caused by heat, electricity, radiation, or caustic substances, in which protein denaturation causes death of tissues. (Scalds are burns due to boiling water or steam.) Burns cause plasma to leak from blood vessels into the tissues and in severe burns substantial leakage leads to shock.

In first-degree burns, such as mild sunburn, damage is superficial. Second-degree burns destroy only the epidermis so that regeneration is possible. Third-degree burns destroy all layers of skin, which cannot then regenerate, so skin-grafting is required. Infection, ulceration, hemolysis, kidney failure, and severe scarring may complicate burns.

Treatments include analgesics, dressings, and antiseptics and fluids for shock. Immediate first aid measures include cold water cooling to minimize continuing damage.


Related category

   • HEALTH AND DISEASE