Burn Wounds Care Depends On Burn Degree

Burn Wounds

In college I held many jobs. Most notably I practiced my chef skills at a very small diner in a rural area. Fish fry night was the most happening night of the week, and since I was the waitress and the cook, I was quite busy. Imagine my surprise when I dropped a basket of cod fillets into molten hot frying oil and a good amount of oil defied gravity and landed directly on my forearm. I remember feeling the pain of a thousand needles penetrating my skin all at once. An uncomfortable ride to the emergency room confirmed second degree burn wounds over most of my arm, and I was told that I was very lucky.

I didn’t feel lucky, my arm hurt and had turned black from some wound gel they put on it. I asked the doctor at a follow up why I was lucky and he murmured that while I whined about the cream I had to buy and apply, I was lucky I did not have third degree burn wounds. So, I got my copay’s worth and asked for a quick burn lesson.

First and second degree burns, I was told are treatable with topical products and time. Inconvenient as they are, they are substantially less serious because they do not affect the entire dermis. 3rd degree burns almost always require excision. Excision? Okay, feeling a little luckier. I was told that the treatment and repair of 3rd degree burns was painful and often disfiguring. 4th degree burns, I found out, often require amputation and complete loss of function of affected areas.

During the stages of wound healing, I was consistently reminded to be wary for wound infection symptoms. I was confused by this. I didn’t think that a wound that wasn’t open could become infected, but it’s much more common than I thought. Burn wounds are susceptible to infection because burns suppress the surface immune system. I also was surprised that my doctor recommended wraps but did not recommend moist wound healing. This suited me because applying anything to my arm felt like I was slathering on liquid hot magma.

Overall, my experience gave me a better understanding of burn wounds, and how much I would prefer to never have any again. The lengthily healing, potential scarring, and continual pain of first and second degree burns can be agonizing. 3rd and 4th degree burns, while often painless, are hugely complicated to treat and often disfiguring. Prompt treatment and proper care will not only shorten healing time, but also increase your comfort level, and therefore immediate medical care for burns is always advised.