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Definition Burns, Prevention and Consultation

Definition burns

Burns are injuries that reach mainly the skin and tissues. Burns can be minor if the skin damage caused are limited, but they can also be extremely serious and life threatening if major injuries.
Burns are classified according to their depth (1st degree, the most superficial 3rd degree, the deepest) and their extent.

Risk of a burn

Each year, 400,000 are burns victims and cause 1,000 deaths.
Usually burns are caused by external factors, the most common is the fire; doctors speak thermal burns. If the skin is destroyed over a large area, it can not perform its main functions of protection against infections, regulating the temperature of the body and to prevent evaporation of body fluids. The risk of infection, dehydration and hypothermia or decrease in body temperature are then very important and serious.

Causes burns

The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the outermost layer to the dermis and the hypodermis, the deepest layer. Depending on their severity, burns destroy the epidermis (called 1st degree burn), the dermis (second degree burn) or subcutaneous (3rd degree burns).

Burns can be caused by fire but also in contact with a hot liquid (scalded skin) or a hot object (contact burns), the sun's ultraviolet rays and more rarely an electric current or a liquid chemical .

Burns Prevention

How does this manifest itself on?

Burns are classified according to their depth and scope, and symptoms vary depending on the depth of the lesions.

The first degree burns (outer skin or epidermis) are characterized by redness (called erythema by physicians) with a sensitivity or pain and swelling. Healing is spontaneous in a few days. This is the classic "sunburn".
The second-degree burns (dermis) are very painful, and the skin is characterized by a pinkish appearance and humid with blisters (or bullae). Healing takes longer and may leave a scar on the skin.

The third degree burns (the skin until reaching the third layer or hypodermis) are much more serious and can even cause tissue damage under the skin (fat, nerves ...). The skin is white and in these cases, paradoxically, is little or no pain because the nerve endings have been destroyed. Healing is very slow. It requires care and scars are usually large.

With what should we be confused?

There is another type of burns associated with inhalation of a gas or hot air, which can damage the upper airways (trachea, bronchi) and create respiratory distress.

Talking about burns inhalation may cause respiratory tract inflammation and asphyxia. It is therefore urgent.

Is there a prevention possible?

Prevention is based on simple advice: Do not let the reach of children pots with boiling water, handle chemicals with gloves or not light a barbecue with gasoline or flammable.

In case of early fire extinguisher duly revised and in perfect working condition must be readily available. If the fire progresses, the alert firefighters must be very fast.

Burns Preparing consultation

When to consult?

A burn is serious and requires emergency medical attention:
if one or more blister cover a total area of ​​skin greater than that of the palm of the hand of the victim;
if the skin has a blackish, brownish or whitish, or painless;
if the burn reaches the face, hand or the neighborhood of the orifices and of the joints;
if the redness is extended in a child or an infant.

What is the doctor?

The diagnosis is readily established depending on the circumstances (examination) and visualization burns. Any burn with a serious nature must be shown to a doctor and hospitalization is sometimes necessary.
Doctors evaluate the extent of burns and accurately including the use of rule 9: each arm is 9% of the body surface, each leg 18%, back 18%, 18% torso, head and neck 9 % and 1% in the genital area.

If the burn is severe, treatments aim to relieve pain, cool the burned areas, compensate for fluid loss, prevent infection and promote healing. In case of significant harm, general anesthesia with mechanical ventilation is required.

How to prepare my next visit?

In case of burns and before any assessment of the potential severity and consultation, it is important to cool the burn by watering with water at 10 ° C, 10 cm and 10 minutes, watch in hand. This limits the increase of the heat and thus the destruction of the skin. In case of severe burns, immediate medical attention is required. Otherwise, local care enough (healing ointment, compresses ...) with strict monitoring: if signs of inflammation or infection (pus) occur, it must consult.

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