d. Location of the Burn. The areas of the body which were burned are
important. A burn to the face may interfere with the airway or cause injury to the eyes.
If the burn is on the groin, buttocks, or medial thighs, the potential for bacterial
e. Complications Accompanying the Burn. A patient with other illnesses
such as respiratory problems, heart disease, or diabetes is in greater jeopardy than a
normal, healthy adult when burned. A minor burn for a healthy adult may be a serious
burn for a person with any one of these health problems.
f. Age of the Patient. Individuals in the 5 to 59 age range have the best
chance for recovery from burns. Infants, children under 5, and adults over 60 have
severe body reactions to burns. The healing pattern for burns is different in this age
range of the population.
CAUSES OF BURNS
a. General Information. There are many causes of burns: direct contact with
flames, hot liquids, chemicals, hot metals, radiation, and electrical current. One of the
functions of the skin is to retain the fluids of the body. Burns can cause loss of these
fluids which can result in shock. If a burn causes blisters or skin loss, there is also a
danger of infection at the burn site. Hot gas and flame burns of the neck, nose, and
mouth may result in the swelling of the airway. Even minor burns in enclosed areas
may cause respiratory damage.
b. Causes of Thermal Burns. The most common type of burns are thermal
burns. They are caused by direct contact with a heat source. Playing with matches,
space heaters igniting papers, drapes, etc. in a house, malfunction of electrical
appliances--all cause thermal burns. Another cause of thermal burns is scalding hot
liquid (the hot water tap turned on by a small child in a bathtub or hot water accidentally
spilled from pot on a stove). Around holidays--particularly the Fourth of July or
Christmas--individuals who handle fireworks improperly become thermal burn victims.
But the greatest number of thermal burns is caused by gasoline or other fuels bursting
into flame and burning anyone who is near.
c. Cause of Electrical Burns. Electrical burns are caused by accidental
contact with exposed parts of electrical wiring. Because we touch and grasp with our
hands, the hands are the areas where electrical current most often enters the body.
d. Causes of Chemical Burns. Chemical burns occur when the body comes in
contact with caustic substances (substances capable of burning, corroding, or
destroying living tissue). These substances include acids, alkalis, white phosphorus,