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Third-degree burns: A physical and emotional journey

Third-degree burns are serious medical emergencies that must be treated as such. These can happen in a variety of situations. They can be caused by an explosion, such as a gas pump or tank blowing up, or by something like a forest fire. No matter how they are caused, the treatment plan for them is usually a lengthy and intense one.

This type of burn is also known as a full thickness burn. It impacts the outer layer of the skin, as well as the layer beneath. The signs of this type of burn include:

  • Lack of pain due to destruction of nerve endings
  • Yellow, black, brown or white skin
  • Leathery, dry skin
  • Swelling

It is unlikely that these burns will heal without medical care. The destruction of the follicles and epidermis means that new skin isn't going to grow. It is going to take specialized methods to get the skin to grow.

Treatment options for third-degree burns

Many third-degree burns will require the person to be transferred to a burn center for treatment. Typically, if more than 10 percent of your body is burned, or if it is deep or located on a sensitive area like the groin or face, you will need care at a burn unit.

When you are receiving treatment, there are a few goals. These include trying to prevent infection, control your pain, minimize the scarring, remove the dead tissue and regain as much function as possible. In order to meet those goals, the treatment plan will include a variety of things.

Third-degree burns might require skin grafts to cover the area. This is a surgical procedure that uses your own skin to cover the burned area. Not only does this provide protection for the tissues beneath the burn, it also reduces the severity of scarring.

Medication management is also common. This includes antibiotics, burn creams and pain medications. You might also receive water-based treatments like ultrasound mists to clean the area and provide a warm and moist environment to encourage skin growth and healing.

Facing life challenges

Having a third-degree burn is an emotional journey. You might have to miss work to receive care, which can have a negative impact on your finances. You might also be unable to perform basic daily care, which means you need help with these tasks. One thing that might alleviate your financial frustrations is seeking compensation from the entity liable for the accident in California.

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