Type of Burns

 

There are several types of burns, some more dangerous than others and knowing the correct first aid is important. While most people think of burns in terms of contact with flames or hot objects, burns can also occur from chemicals, electrical sources, steam or hot water.

 

Burns are one of the most painful wounds that can be experienced’.[1] Burns can be classified by severity and type. There are different types of burns: chemical, electrical, scald and flame.

 

  • Chemical burns happen upon direct contact with chemicals.
  • Electrical burns are acquired through contact with an electrical current.
  • Scald burns happen when there is direct contact with hot water and steam.
  • Flame burns occur when there is a direct contact with open fire.

 

According to Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) 2014 annual report, adult males are the highest risk for experiencing a flame burn injury while one year old children are the highest risk for experiencing a scald burn injury.[2]

 

Burns are also described according to the extent of the injury to the skin layers. Burn classification includes superficial, partial and full thickness burns. These were once classified as first, second and third degree burns. Knowing first aid treatment is essential for any degree of skin burns:

 

  1. Remove jewellery and clothing not stuck to the burn site to allow effective cooling.
  2. Cool the burn under running water for 20 minutes to stop the burning process.
  3. Apply mundicare® Burnaid® Hydrogel to help relieve the pain and cover with a clean bandage.

 

Always seek medical attention if burn site is larger than 3mm in diameter or found on face, hands, groin, feet or involves the airways or if you have any concerns.

Electrical burns or shocks occur when there is direct contact with a live electrical current.

 

Common causes of these burns are exposed electrical wires, water spillage on appliances, cuts through a live cable, old wiring or faulty electric machines. Although cases related to electrical burns only account for a very small percentage (14 out of 419 adult burn cases in the 20 to 29 age group), they still require specialised burn treatment¹.

 

People who experience electrical burns have to undergo treatment under a specialised burns unit, as extensive damage can occur to underlying structures in the body. Electrical injuries are described as low (less than 1000 volts) or high (1000 volts and up).

 

Low voltage injuries are usually associated with localised tissue destruction, while high voltage injuries are deep and extensive tissue damage with three patterns of injury: flame injury from ignition of clothing or accessories, by arc of current from source to object and caused by live, current flow. In case of an electrical burn and injuries, call 000 and seek medical attention immediately.

Chemical burns are thought to occur mostly at the hospital or laboratories as most chemicals are stored here. But actually, simple household cleaners and laundry substances can easily cause burns.

 

Common agents that cause chemical burns are: cement, tar, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, alkali and HFA. These substances are usually found in car batteries, bleach and drain, oven and toilet cleaners.[1] Although chemical burns account for 3 to 5% of all burns-associated hospital admissions, they still account for approximately 30% of burn-associated deaths.

 

This is one reason why chemical burns are included in the Australia and New Zealand Burn Association (ANZBA) criteria for specialised burns treatment. These types of burns are to be treated in a specialised burns unit.[2] In case of a chemical burn injury, call 000 and seek medical attention immediately.

Hot water burns, also known as scald burns, often occur as a result of spilled boiling water. Elderly persons are at a higher risk of obtaining hot water burns because of their thinned skin. Hot water burns may cause burn blisters. When these occur, do not pop or open blister and instead perform first aid.

 

First Aid for Hot Water Burns
To perform first aid on someone who has a minor hot water burn:

1. Remove the person or yourself from the danger. Turn off the hot water, removed hot water soaked clothing, or jewellery that may hold heat.

 

2. Using clean water, cool the burn by applying cold, running water for 20 minutes. If no clean water is available, immediately apply mundicare® Burnaid® Gel or Spray. Some old wives’ tales might advise you to use butter, toothpaste or other strange creams on your burns. These are myths that should be avoided considering that they can do more harm than good.

 

3. Cover the burn with mundicare® Burnaid® Hydrogel and then apply a clean, non-stick breathable dressing. mundicare® Burnaid® Hydrogel cools and soothes to help relieve pain, and is formulated with purified melaleuca oil as an antiseptic. Seek medical assistance if clothing is stuck to the burn site or burn site is larger than a 20 cent piece or found on face, hands, groin, feet or involves the airways

Burn Classifications

 

Burns are classified depending on their severity. You’ve likely heard of the different degrees: first, second and third degree burns. These days, we classify burns a bit differently, by superficial, partial thickness, and full thickness burns. They are distinctly separate from one another but all need medical attention. Whether you can treat your burn at home with 20 min of cool running water and mundicare® Burnaid® Gel or seek out emergency care, you can find more information here on each type of burn as well as its individual classification.

 

Burn Classification FAQ

  • What is a First Degree Burns and Symptoms?

    What is known as a first degree burn is now also classified as a superficial burn. These types of burns only impact the top layer of the skin.

     

    A first degree burn will be red and painful. There may also be minimal swelling.

  • Treating First Degree Burns

    REMOVE – Remove any clothing and jewellery from the affected area to allow effective cooling of the burn.

    COOL – Cool the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes. Do not use ice, butter, toothpaste, creams or ointments as these may make the burn worse.

    COVER – Cover with a Gel such as mundicare® Burnaid®  to help relieve the pain, and cover with a clean dressing.

    SEEK – Seek medical advice if the burn is larger than 3 mm in diamater or on the face, hands, feet or groin area or if you have any concerns.

  • What is a Second Degree Burn and Symptoms?

    Second degree burns are now also known as partial thickness burns. Partial thickness burns damage both the top and second layer of the skin. They are red, swollen, blistering, peeling, and sometimes leaking a clear to yellow coloured fluid.

  • Treatment for Second Degree Burns

    1. Call 000 for medical assistance immediately.
    2. Place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.
  • What is a Third Degree Burn?

    Also known as a full thickness burn, a third degree burn involves damage to the top two layers of skin as well as the tissue below. There may be blackened areas of skin and exposed fat tissue. Some burns may impact the nerves making part of the burn non-painful. However, it is likely that a third degree burn will have areas of a partial thickness burn around it, which will still be painful.

  • How Should You Treat a Third Degree Burn?

    A full thickness burn requires immediate medical attention. Do not attempt to rinse the burn, apply creams, or remove clothing or jewellery at the site.

     

    1. Call 000 immediately for urgent medical assistance.
    2. Place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.
How to treat Burns

 

Did you know 88% of minor burns occur at home, but 90% of burns sufferers don’t know how to treat a burn correctly?

 

Burns need fast, effective treatment. There are many misconceptions about correct first aid treatment. The good news is, it’s easy. Here’s our simple 3-step guide to first aid for burns.

 

1

 

Remove

 

  • Remove yourself from danger.
  • Remove any clothing / or jewellery that is not stuck to the burn from the affected area to allow effective cooling of the burn.

2

 

Cool

 

  • Cool the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes.
  • If clean running water is not available use a Gel such as mundicare® Burnaid® Gel.
  • Do not use ice, butter, toothpaste, creams or ointments as these may make the burn worse.

3

 

Cover

 

  • Apply a Gel such as mundicare® Burnaid® gel to help relieve the pain.
  • Cover with a clean dressing.

Seek medical assistance if clothing is stuck to the burn site or burn site is larger than a 3cm or found on face, hands, groin, feet or involves the airways or if you have any concerns.

 

Keep your colleagues and friends safe by downloading this easy to follow first aid guide for your workplace, sports club or community group.

 

First aid treatment for burns poster

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Burns Safety

 

The best way to be safe from burns is prevention. We all lead busy lives. So here are a few simple tips to help make your home and kitchen safe for children and your family.

 

For children aged 0-5 years the most common injury is scalds, caused by mimicking adult behaviour. Like pulling hot drinks off tables, touching hot taps or grabbing saucepan handles.

 

Babies and young children have fragile skin and their skin burns deeper and more quickly than adults and at lower temperatures.

Do

Do
  • Do turn saucepan handles away from the edge of the stove.
  • Do keep hot liquids (including coffee, tea, noodles and soup) well out of reach.
  • Do test the bath water before putting the child in.

Don't

Don't
  • Do not carry a child on your hip, or nurse a baby or small child whilst cooking, drinking hot drinks or heating a baby’s bottle.
  • Do not leave a child unattended in the kitchen or bath especially when hot water is running.