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What Kind of Burn Do You Have — First-, Second-, Third- or Fourth-Degree?

Every burn is painful, but some burns are deeper, more damaging and take longer to heal. Extremely severe burns may require extensive medical care, followed by physical therapy for victims to regain use of the affected limb. Significant scarring may be unavoidable.

How deep is your burn?

The severity of burns is categorized in first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree:

  • First-degree — First-degree burns are the mildest type of burns, causing redness of skin without blisters. They are treated with pain medication and usually heal within a week.
  • Second-degree — Second-degree burns are the next level of severity and cause damage to a portion of your skin’s thickness. Second-degree burns are characterized by blisters, which may need to be trimmed as part of treatment. Skin grafts are sometimes needed and healing takes two to three weeks.
  • Third-degree — In third-degree burns, the full thickness of your skin is damaged. Your skin may appear white and leathery. Third-degree burns usually require skin granting, unless the area is very small. Ungrafted third-degree burns leave significant scarring, which can cause additional problems in the future.
  • Fourth-degree — Fourth-degree burns are the worst kind. Not only is the full thickness of your skin affected, fourth-degree burns cause damage to deeper structures, such as bones, joints and tendons. Fourth-degree burns are treated with skin grafting and orthopedic repairs, if possible.

The severity of a burn depends on the amount of heat, and the length of time it was applied to the skin. Caustic chemicals can also cause burns similar to those produced by direct heat. Children under four years of age and adults over age 60 have a greater risk of death due to complications associated with traumatic burn injuries.

A skilled burn injury lawyer in Boston with extensive experience collecting damages for victims of severe burn injuries can assess your right to monetary reimbursement if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.

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