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Burns Awareness: Burns Basics


Burn Awareness Week |  FACTS

Each year, thousands of Oregonians suffer from burn injuries including scalds, flame, heat, sunburn, frostbite, chemical or electrical burns. About 80% of burn injuries do occur in or around the home and the majority of these injuries are preventable. During Burn Awareness Week (February 8 – 12, 2010), Portland Fire & Rescue will provide safety tips and information to help readers avoid burn injuries.

What are Burns?

A burn is damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by heat, chemicals, or electricity. All burns damage or destroy skin cells. Deeper burns may involve the fat, muscle, or bone.

Who Are More Susceptible?

Due to their thinner skin, children and older adults can sustain severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than younger adults. Children, seniors, and the disabled are less likely to survive burn injuries and usually spend more in hospital due to recovery challenges. Adults between the ages of 35 and 44 are the most frequently hospitalized for burn-related injuries.  Adult males are three times more likely than females to experience burn-related hospitalizations. Children under the age of six years old are most frequently seen in emergency rooms with burn injuries. 

Types of Burns

  • First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin and are superficial. The burn is red, painful, and dry but does not blister. Long-term tissue damage is rare and can increase or decrease in the skin color. Generally first-degree burns heals in three to five days with no scarring. Examples include sunburns and minor scalds.
  • Second-degree burns involve damages to the top two layers of the skin. The burn is red, includes blisters, and may be swollen and painful. These burns most likely heal in 10 to 21 days.
  • Third-degree burns destroy all layers of the skin and may also damage the underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. The burn site appears white or charred. There is no sensation in the area because nerve endings are destroyed. Skin grafts are required.

Visit the Fire Blog this week to learn what causes burns, how to prevent burn injuries, and how to treat burns.


February 8, 2010


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