Burn InjuryAccording to the American Burn Association, there were an estimated 486,000 people that received burn injury treatment in the U.S. in 2011, and in 2014, there were 3,275 people killed nationwide from fire injuries or smoke inhalation according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Moreover, the NFPA estimates that fire departments across the nation responded to more than 1.3 million fires in 2017. In fact, according to the NFPA, fire departments respond to a fire every 24 seconds, and a fire occurs in the U.S. at least every 63 seconds. These fires cause property damage, severe injuries, and even death in some instances, and the fact is, sustaining burn injuries in an accident can result in permanent scarring, a long and painful recovery process, and a large number of medical expenses. As such, it’s important for you to understand the various types of burn injuries you or your family members could sustain in an accident, the various treatment options that are available for burn injuries, and the types of damages that burn victims typically receive compensation for following an accident.
Types of Burn InjuriesSimilar to other types of injuries, burn injuries have different levels of severity, and depending on where and how severe your injuries are will ultimately determine which modalities of treatment your doctor recommends. As a general matter, there are three types of burns, and the categorization of the severity of your burns is determined by how many layers of your skin were damaged by the fire, explosion, or chemical. The different levels to burn injuries is as follows:
- First-Degree Burns: This type of burn involves damage to the epidermis, the top outer layer of your skin, only.
- Second-Degree Burns: Second-degree burns involve damage to both the epidermis and the dermis, which is the layer of your skin below the outer layer.
- Third-Degree Burns: This type of burn involves damage to the lowest layer of your skin, which is referred to as the subcutaneous layer, as well as the dermis and epidermis.
Treatments for Burn InjuriesThe location and severity of a burn will ultimately determine what treatment options are available for your injuries. The goal in most cases is to reduce both the amount and degree of scarring on the area of the injury as much as possible. Moreover, the other goal of your treatment will be to increase the degree of functionality you have in the burned body part. These goals are normally accomplished through surgical intervention the most common of which is skin grafts. The two types of skin graft procedures include:
- Split-Thickness Skin Grafts: This type of skin graft involves the removal of a few layers of the epidermis layer of your skin from one area of your body and surgically attach it to the burned area of your body.
- Full-Thickness Skin Grafts: This type of skin graft is identical to a split-thickness skin graft, but full-thickness skin grafts involve the removal of layers of skin from both the dermis and epidermis layers of skin.
Smoke Inhalation InjuriesWhile many burn victims sustain heavy damage to their skin, you also have a high likelihood that you will sustain injuries to your lungs and respiratory system as a result of inhaling the toxic gases that many fires create. Symptoms associated with smoke inhalation injuries include:
- Coughing and phlegm
- A scratchy throat
- Irritated sinuses
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Stinging eyes
- A runny nose
- Nebulizer treatments