Alternate Names: Thermal burns, Thermal injury, Mechanical burns, Electrical burns, Chemical burns, Chemical injury, Radiation burns, Radiation injury, Friction burns, First degree burns, Second degree burns, Third degree burns, Fourth degree burns, Inhalation injury, Fullthickness burn, Partial thickness burn, Cold temperature burns
There are several causes for the development of a burn injury. Some causes include exposure to radiation xrays, the sun, chemicals, extremely cold temperatures, fire, steam, hot liquids, and scrapes. The most common form of burn is a thermal burn. These burns result from exposure to hot liquids, steam, fire and other hot objects. The severity of the burn is determined by several factors. These factors include this size of the area affected, how deep the burn is, the age and current health status of the burn victim and the area of the body affected. During exposure to the heat source, the tissues, cells and capillaries become extremely permeable which leads to significant pain and swelling in and around the area of injury. Continued exposure to the source of heat leads to extension of the area of injury to include nerves, muscle and possibly bone. This extension of the injury leads to increased swelling and pain. Widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) leads to extreme shifts in bodily fluid and more swelling. Severe thermal burns may result in loss of life or limb, irreversible tissue necrosis and life threatening infection.
Symptoms of Burns
Signs and symptoms of burn include swelling, pain, redness, blisters, white or charred skin and in extreme cases burn may lead to shock. Shock is caused by widespread widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) that results in cardiovascular collapse.
Treating Burns or Treatment of Burns
Treatment of a burn depends upon the severity of tissue damage. Some individuals may require surgical intervention and cardiovascular support while others may require significantly less. Many physicians are utilizing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as a complementary treatment to more traditional methods. HBOT results in a hyper oxygenated environment in the blood plasma that makes high levels of oxygen immediately available for consumption by the body. This high level of oxygen is vital in areas of the body where blood vessels may have been destroyed by extreme sources of heat. In the case of HBOT, vessels are not needed for delivery of the oxygen since it is already dissolved and available for use. This helps reduce swelling, speed tissue recovery and may even prevent infection with certain bacterias that do not do well in high oxygen environments. Repeated treatment with HBOT stimulates new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) and new connections between nerve cells in the area of injury.