Burn Victim

Burns are very dangerous because if you survive the burn you are still at a large risk for infection. It is very hard to tell if the burned area is infected because the first signs of an infection are that the area is red, inflamed, and warm to the touch. A burned area already has these signs. It is also very easy to get an infection from a burn because the first defense against bacteria is the skin and burns damage the skin. More than ten thousand burn victims die a year from infection. There are six different degrees of burns.

A first degree burn damages the outer layers of skin called the epidermis. A second degree burn damages the layers of skin under the epidermis called the dermis. Third degree burns damage both layers and possibly the muscle, tendons, fat, and bones. Fourth degree burns damage everything all the way to the bone. Fifth and sixth degree burns are usually only used once the person is dead because the burned area would be destroyed and it is not common for a person burned that badly to be burned in only a small area.

It would be extremely surprising if someone survived a burn of the fifth or sixth degree and if they did the burned area would have to be a limb and it would have to be amputated. Another big worry of a burn victim is dehydration. Due to the heat from a burn, the blood vessels dilate and the plasma from the blood escapes into the skin. This causes blisters on less severe burns. Second degree burns are the worst burn that might blister. After second degree burns the skin becomes raw and oozes plasma. On a large area this can cause extreme liquid loss that may cause the victim to go into shock and suffer from dehydration.

If a large area of skin is very damaged skin grafting may be necessary. Skin grafting is when the burned skin is removed and new skin from another part of your body is used to replace it. The upper thighs are often used because they are not as often seen. Skin can also be used from a family member or from a skin bank, much like a blood bank. There is also a new way to get skin for a burn victim. Living cells from the victim are taken to a laboratory and grown into a piece of skin. If the burn is very deep in the skin a deep piece of healthy skin maybe needed.

A second surgery may be necessary to close where the healthy skin was taken from if it is too deep. There are between one and two million people in America that seek medical attention each year due to burns. Fifty to seventy thousand people are hospitalized due to burns. Of those fifty to seventy thousand thirty to forty of them are under the age of fifteen. Burns are very dangerous. Even if the burn isn’t bad enough to kill the victim they are still at a high risk of death if the burn is very large. Even if they survive they may still need to have surgeries or amputations.

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