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Burns

Summary

A burn is damage to your body's tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight, or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns. Another kind is an inhalation injury, caused by breathing smoke.

There are three types of burns:

  • First-degree burns damage only the outer layer of skin
  • Second-degree burns damage the outer layer and the layer underneath
  • Third-degree burns damage or destroy the deepest layer of skin and tissues underneath

Burns can cause swelling, blistering, scarring and, in serious cases, shock, and even death. They also can lead to infections because they damage your skin's protective barrier. Treatment for burns depends on the cause of the burn, how deep it is, and how much of the body it covers. Antibiotic creams can prevent or treat infections. For more serious burns, treatment may be needed to clean the wound, replace the skin, and make sure the patient has enough fluids and nutrition.

NIH: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • (American College of Emergency Physicians)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
  • (UpToDate)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (United States Fire Administration) - PDF
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • Skin graft - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in

Related Issues

  • (Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors) - PDF

Specifics

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (National Fire Protection Association)
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • (Burn Institute) - PDF

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (Safe Kids Worldwide)

Statistics and Research

  • (American Burn Association)
  • (Safe Kids Worldwide) - PDF

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors) - PDF

Find an Expert

  • (American Burn Association)

Children

  • (Consumer Product Safety Commission) - PDF
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in

Patient Handouts

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