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Burns: Scarring, disabling injuries that require treatment

Burn injuries are some of the most difficult to deal with in the long term. They scar, disfigure and change how the body works. Depending on the area burned, a person could have a disability or be unable to expose the scars to sunlight for fear of additional side effects.

There are several degrees of burns. First-degree burns are the least severe. Second-degree burns are more severe, and third-degree burns are the most severe. Burns can cause scarring, swelling, blistering and shock, depending on the severity of the burns and how much of the body is covered in burns.

Burns can be anywhere

Burns are often thought of as external injuries, but they're sometimes internal as well. Inhaling hot smoke can lead to injuries to the lungs, for instance. Drinking a liquid that is too hot could cause burns down the throat or into the esophagus. Radiation burns may literally affect every cell in the body.

How are burns treated?

Minor burns are typically treated with self-care. For example, if you burn yourself on the stove but quickly run your hand under cold water, you may notice that you don't see any blisters and only have swelling or redness. If that's the case, keeping your hand under the cold water to prevent the burn from spreading and then icing the burn is a good plan. If it worsens, then it's a good idea to see a doctor.

Second-degree burns damage the outer layer of skin as well as the layer below that. They are more severe and may require medications to prevent infection in some instances. You might suffer this kind of burn if you're out in the sun too long and get sun poisoning or if you accidentally grip something too hot and don't let go quickly.

Third-degree burns are the most severe. These burns destroy the tissues they come into contact with. They may not hurt, because the nerves are destroyed. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention.

Burns have many causes

Just as there are many kinds of burns, there are also many ways in which you can suffer them. In most cases, burn injuries are the result of an individual's own negligence, such as failing to wear sunscreen on a sunny day or touching a hot stove or surface. In some cases, however, burn injuries can be the result of someone else's negligence.

Fires caused by serious vehicle collisions, inadequate electrical maintenance or product defects in electrical devices, like smart phones, are all examples of instances that can result in serious burn injuries. It's in these types of cases, when negligence is a factor, that in addition to seeking medical attention, a victim may want to seek legal action as well.

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