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Burn injuries: Types and causes

Burn injuries can result from various causes, including heat, chemicals, electricity and radiation. These injuries can be painful and debilitating. In severe cases, they can even be fatal. Understanding the causes and types of burn injuries can help Louisiana residents take steps to prevent them and seek appropriate treatment when they occur.

Thermal burns

Thermal burns are the most common type of burn injury. Burns caused by exposure to heat sources include causes such as flames, hot liquids, steam or hot objects like stovetops.

Chemical burns

Chemical burns occur when skin or other body tissues come into contact with harsh chemicals. Toxic chemicals that can cause burns include acids, bases or solvents.

Electrical burns

These burns occur when an electrical current passes through the body, often resulting in serious tissue damage. Improperly secured wiring or stun guns are among the potential causes of electrical burns.

Radiation burns

Radiation burns are caused by exposure to high radiation levels, such as from the sun, X-rays or radiation therapy. Improper microwave oven use and extended sunbathing are two potential causes of these burns.

Types of Burn Injuries

First-degree burns are the mildest, affecting only the outermost layer of skin. They typically cause redness, swelling, and pain but usually heal within a few days without scarring.

Second-degree burns affect the outer and second layer of skin, causing blisters, swelling and pain. Second-degree burns can cause scarring in more severe cases and require medical treatment.

Third-degree burns are a more severe type of burn injury, affecting all layers of skin and potentially damaging underlying tissues, muscles and bones. Third-degree burns often result in scarring and may require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts.

Fourth-degree burns are the most severe burn injuries accident victims can sustain, causing damage to all skin layers, underlying tissues and organs. Fourth-degree burns are often fatal; survivors require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.


While some burns are unavoidable, many can be prevented by taking proper precautions. It is crucial to use caution when working with or around heat sources, chemicals and electricity.

Protecting children from dangerous items such as stoves, irons and matches can help prevent painful accidents. For adults, wearing protective clothing when working with hazardous materials or equipment and staying hydrated to protect the skin from sun exposure can help keep you safe from burns.

Take appropriate action

Understanding the types of burn injuries and their causes can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations. It can also ensure you take appropriate precautions to sidestep any dangers or seek prompt medical attention that can limit damage to your body and reduce rehabilitation times.