Healthy skin does more than keep you looking good. You need healthy skin to keep you hydrated, regulate your body temperature and protect you from bacterial infections, which is why bad burns are so much more life-threatening than many other injuries. There are three types of burns:
- First-degree — The skin is usually red, often swollen and frequently painful
- Second-degree — Blisters develop, skin takes on a red, splotchy appearance, there is usually severe pain and swelling
- Third degree — All layers of skin are involved, causing permanent damage
Whereas a first-degree burn only affects the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) the most serious type of burn, a third-degree burn, affects both the epidermis and the dermis, effectively destroying both layers of skin. This leaves you without protection from bacterial infections, without the ability to regulate your body temperature, and without the ability to remain hydrated.
Until very recently, third-degree burn injuries that covered a large portion of the body usually resulted in death. People with large areas of severe burns often have shock and massive fluid loss, conditions that must be treated in addition to caring for the wound and helping it heal. Today, artificial skin is usually placed over the wounds, allowing the patient to heal without the constant risk of infection or dehydration.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the vast majority of burns occur in the home, more than 15 percent of severe burns leading to admissions to burn centers occurred at work or as a result of motor vehicle accidents. If you suffered a severe burn as a result of someone else’s negligence at work, in a motor vehicle accident, or anywhere else — frequent culprits are barbecues and fireworks displays — work with a personal injury attorney who knows burn wounds to get the compensation you deserve. Burn injuries can be incredibly complex, painful, and disabling — more so than most people and most judges recognize, but having the right burn victim lawyer at your side can make all the difference.