injuries by burns and wounds

Any physiological harm to the human body brought on by immediate physical stress is referred to as an injury. An injury can be brought on by blunt trauma, piercing trauma, burning, toxic exposure, asphyxiation, or overexertion, and it can also happen accidentally.

Burn injuries
A burn is a serious injury that results from fire or anything hot beyond a temperature that the human tissues can tolerate.

How do burns occur?
Several things can result in a burn. The most frequent causes of burns are thermal sources like fire, hot liquids, steam, and contact with hot surfaces. Other causes include:

  • Chemical agents like sulfuric acid, benzene etc.
  • Electric currents
  • Harmful radiation
  • Sunlight in extremely hot temperatures.

What are the types of burns?
Burns are categorised by severity levels by healthcare professionals. Your doctor will assess the severity of the skin injury. Burn degrees consist of:

  • Mild first-degree burns-It occurs on being subjected to relative mild heat, eg. Sunburns. Although the epidermis, the top layer of skin, often becomes red and uncomfortable, it rarely blisters.
  • Second degree burns- Upper and lower layers of skin are affected by second-degree burns (dermis). There’s a chance that you’ll feel hurt, red, swollen, and blistered.
  • Third degree burns- The epidermis, dermis, and fat of the skin are all affected by third-degree burns. The burn also kills sweat glands and hair follicles. Third-degree burns harm nerve endings, so you usually won’t feel pain directly where the burn is, but rather nearby. Burned skin might appear leathery and can be black, white, or red.

How does a doctor assess burns?
To assess the degree or severity of the burn, your healthcare provider will examine it. The depth and percentage of the burn that is influenced by this procedure are estimated. Your doctor could categorise the burn as:

  • Mild: First- and second-degree burns with a body coverage of less than 10% are regarded as minor and infrequently necessitate hospitalisation.
  • Moderate: 10% or more of the body with second-degree burns are considered moderate. Burns that affect the hands, feet, face, or genitalia can be mild to severe.
  • Serious: Burns of the third degree that cover more than 1% of the body are regarded as severe.

How are burns treated?
The type and extent of the burn determine the appropriate treatment. Depending on the severity of the wounds, you need to keep all burns clean and apply the appropriate bandages or dressings. The aim is to treat the person’s discomfort because poor control might hinder proper wound care.
Keep checking wounds for indications of infection and other chronic problems, such as scarring and tightening of the skin covering joints and muscles that makes it difficult for the patient to move.
Treatments for various types of burns include:

  • First degree burns: Apply cool water to the area. Apply no ice. Apply aloe vera gel on burns. Apply antibiotic cream on thermal burns and lightly wrap in gauze. Additionally, there are over-the-counter painkillers available.
  • Second-degree burns: They are treated similarly to first-degree burns. In order to destroy bacteria, your doctor might advise a stronger antibiotic cream that contains silver, such as silver sulfadiazine. The burned region can feel less painful and swollen if it is elevated.
  • Third degree burns: Third-degree burns are frequently fatal and may require skin grafts. With the aid of skin grafts, damaged tissue is replaced with healthy skin from an adjacent, unharmed area of the patient’s body. In most cases, the area from which the skin graft was obtained heals on its own. A temporary supply of graft can come from a deceased donor or a human-made (artificial) source if the injured person does not have enough skin accessible at the time of the injury, but they must eventually be replaced by the injured person’s own skin. Additional fluids are also given as part of the treatment (often intravenously via an IV) to maintain blood pressure and prevent shock and dehydration.

If not treated in time, burns can lead to a lot of complications such as infection, low blood pressure, chest complications, etc. Thus it is extremely important to get the patient to a doctor immediately after the burn injury is sustained.

A wound can be caused due to different types of trauma to the skin or muscles and the presentation greatly varies according to the cause. A wound may be closed or open. A closed wound is generally easier to manage as compared to an open wound.

What are the types of wounds?
Depending on the cause, wounds are divided into four types-

  • Abrasion- When a person’s skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface,it leads to an abrasion. An abrasion is something like road rash. Even though there is typically not much bleeding, it is nevertheless important to clean and scrub the incision to prevent infection.
  • Laceration- A laceration is a significant skin tearing or cutting injury. Accidents involving machinery, tools, and knives are common causes of lacerations. Bleeding from severe wounds may occur quickly and heavily.
  • Puncture- A puncture is a tiny hole made by a long, sharp tool, such a needle or nail. A gunshot can occasionally leave a puncture wound. Even though a wound from a puncture may not bleed much, it may nevertheless be deep enough to harm internal organs. Visit your doctor to have a tetanus vaccine and avoid infection if you have even a very small wound.
  • Avulsion- Avulsions are the partial or total tearing away of skin and underlying tissue. Avulsions typically happen during traumatic incidents, such as collisions with objects that crush the body, explosions, and bullets. They quickly and profusely bleed.

How are wounds managed?
Small wounds can be managed at home. It is important to wash the wound thoroughly with water first to remove all the dirt and debris, and then to apply an antiseptic solution. Any open wound should be covered with clean bandages and the bandages should be changed regularly. The wound should be kept clean and dry for a minimum of 5 days.

In case of severe wounds, you should go to a doctor to avoid any complications. Your doctor might treat your open wound utilising a variety of methods. Your doctor might use skin glue, sutures, or stitches to repair the incision after cleaning and perhaps numbing the region. If you have a puncture wound, you might be given a tetanus vaccine.
Your doctor can decide not to stitch up the wound and allow it to heal spontaneously depending on where it is and the risk of infection. This process is known as healing by secondary intention.

If the wound is very large and a lot of skin is lost, the doctor may recommend skin grafting inorder to restore blood supply to the wound area and to cover the wound area, which will lead to reduced risks of infection.
Open wounds are not to be taken lightly as they may be associated with a large amount of blood loss, risk of infection and other complications. Visit your doctor at the earliest if you have a wound they will guide with an optimal plan of action.

How Sancheti Hospital can help you?
Sancheti Hospital is a premier healthcare facility in the country. It’s also one of the most renowned medical facilities in Pune. Their expertise is plastic and reconstructive surgeries and orthopaedic care. Certain burns and wounds may require the expertise of a highly-skilled surgeon, and Sancheti Hospital has a panel of highly-qualified surgeons who can suggest the best treatment for your condition. They have successfully completed many surgeries over a decade, and offer advanced medical treatments with the latest technology to help you recover faster.

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