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Pathophysiology and Types of Skin Burns

Burns are a common injury that most everyone has experienced to some extent. They range from mild to disfiguring, and can even cause death if the burn is severe enough or left untreated. There are different types of burns; however, the burns that people most frequently suffer from are thermal, chemical, or electrical. Depending on the type of burn they may be caused by contact with an electrical current, chemicals, or a heat source such as a fire, hot liquid, or even overexposure to the sun. Of these burn types, thermal burns are the most common. When a person is burned it is important to know what the symptoms are. This is necessary as not all burns, especially severe burns, are painful; however medical treatment must be sought. Yearly in the U.S., approximately 450,000 burn sufferers receive some form of medical treatment, and 3,500 die from their injuries. For that reason, in addition to pain some of the symptoms to look for include redness of the skin, blistering, swelling, peeling, or a charred appearance. Because failing to understand burns can lead to death, it is important that people avoid situations that could lead to this type of injury or get immediate treatment for burns when they occur.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Mayo Clinic: Burns - Symptoms: This appears on the Mayo Clinic website in their burn section. The page discusses the symptoms that are associated with the different types, or degrees of burns.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center: This is a reference page that reviews various aspects about burns, including the signs and Symptoms are the second category. Also on this page the reader will learn about causes, risks, treatment, and preventive care.
  • WebMD- Pain Management: Pain Caused by Burns: With this article, WebMD gives its readers information about burns including a section about the symptoms of burns. In addition to this list of symptoms the reader may also read sections about the types of burns, the causes, and treatments.
  • Bloomsburg University - Burns: This is a PDF document that lists different types of burns and their signs and symptoms. The document discusses signs and symptoms of first degree burns and second degree burns. Treatment is also included for each.
  • NYU Langone Medical Center – Burns: Symptoms of different burn classifications are outlined in this article. Readers will also learn about causes, risk factors, preventative measures, treatment, and diagnosis of burns.

Types of Burns

  • The Facts About Burns: This is a page on the University of Florida Miller School of Medicine website. On this page readers will learn what the different types of burns are, as well as burn classifications, burn injuries and symptoms of burn injuries.
  • Mercer County Community College – Burns: This is a PDF document that includes types of burns. The document discusses types of burns based on the causes and also types burns based on the severity of the injury.
  • Home Safe Home - Types of Burns: This is a PDF document that lists the different types of burns. The article is divided into sections and includes the burn type, a description, alternate name and the symptoms.
  • Oregon Health & Science University - Burns: Readers will find out what the different types of burns are when reading this article. They will also learn about skin and its function, the classification of burns, and the effects of burns.
  • Types of Burns - First Aid for Burns: When reading this document, people are given the name for each of the burn types and are told what the signs are and how to treat them. This document is provided by Emory University.

Burn Pathophysiology

  • Pathophysiology and Types of Burns: This is an article from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The article discusses what is happening in the body as a response to different types of burns. The article includes images.
  • Evaluation and Management of Burns: This is a PDF handout meant for the evaluation and the management of burns. When reading this handout the reader will find two section for burn pathophysiology. One section is entitled "Pathophysiology of Burns" and the other is "Burn Pathophysiology."
  • Pathophysiology and Current Management of Burn Injury: This is a PDF document that is designed for RNs and physicians. It reviews the pathophysiology of burns. It also discusses the current management of injuries caused by burns.

How a Burn Heals

  • Repair of Skin: On this web page readers will learn what it takes for the skin to heal after a burn injury. This is found under the "Burns" category and information is listed by the different classification of burns.
  • About Burns: This is an article that is found on the UC San Diego Health Systems website. A chart near the end of the article entitled "Recognizing Burn Severity" lists different burn degrees and provides information for each, including a category on how it heals.
  • Regions Hospital Burn Center - Healing: In this article readers will learn how burns heal. The article explains the healing process, including scars, contraction, changes in sensation and what happens to skin color.

What is a Scar?

  • Columbia University Department of Dermatology - What is a Scar?: This article provides the reader with an explanation of what a scar is. It also discusses different types of scars and the treatment for them.
  • Preventing Scars and Contractures: This is an article that appears on the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh website. It explains what scars and what classification of burn will leave one. The reader will also learn what is done to prevent scarring from occurring.
  • Scars - What is a Scar?: The University of Chicago Medicine explains what scars are in this article. Scar minimizing procedures are also discusses.
  • NHS Choices- Scars: This is the introductory page on scars for the NHS website. It explains what scars are and how they form. Contracture scars, which are often a result of burns, are also discussed.