Effects of Burn injury

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Published: 08th April 2015
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Burn injuries include some of the most traumatic personal injuries a person can endure. The financial, mental and physical costs of recovering from a burn injury are limitless.Burn effects are measured by exposure to heat based on temperature and duration. Location of the burn is also taken into account to determine the effects of burns because skin varies in thickness, water and oil content, fat and blood vessels.

It is common for a person with a large burn injury to have burns of different depths. The deepest injury is usually at the center of a burned area. The deeper the burn injury is, the greater the number of layers that are damaged. Sweat glands and the roots of hair follicles are in the deeper layers and will be destroyed with a deep burn. Deep injuries heal more slowly, are more difficult to treat, and are more likely to have complications than superficial injuries. Pain management is a critical aspect of healing from burn injuries and often requires a combination of medications and treatment best handled by a team of medical specialists. A keloid scar refers to a thick, itchy cluster of scar tissue that will grow beyond the edges of an initial burn wound. After the wound has healed, Keloid scars develop as a result of the bodyís production of collagen, a tough fibrous protein. Keloid scars are often darker than the surrounding skin and can often become binding by limiting mobility. People with dark skin are more likely to develop Keloids than those with fair skin.

Hypertrophic scars are thick, raised, often described as leather or ropelike, and, just like Keloids, are darker than the surrounding skin. They differ from Keloid scars because they are usually confined to the original area of the burn injury and do not extend past the edges of the initial burn site. Hypertrophic scars are more common in people with fair complexions. Pressure therapy is frequently used in the treatment of hypertrophic scars. A contracture scar is a permanent tightening of skin that may affect the underlying muscles and tendons which may limit the patientís mobility and possibly damage the underlying nerves. Contractures develop when normal elastic connective tissues are replaced with inelastic fibrous tissue. This makes the tissues resistant to stretching and prevents normal movement of the affected area. Doctors recommend physical therapy, pressure garments and exercise to assist in controlling contracture burn scars.

Carbon monoxide is emitted by carbon-containing fuels such as gas, oil, and coal. Inhalation injuries may go unnoticed as carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and has no smell. In order to detect carbon monoxide leaks, gas companies add a smell to the fuel so that people can recognize leaks from a home heating system or other appliance. The leading cause of death among smoke inhalation injuries is carbon monoxide. The signs and symptoms of smoke inhalation include cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness, headache, and acute mental status changes. The most common side effect of carbon monoxide poisoning is headache. More intense exposure causes shortness of breath and altered mental function. Treatment for mild carbon monoxide poisoning is simply exposure to fresh air.

Burns are serious and sometimes traumatic events. They produce very significant changes to the body that can be life threatening. When skin is burned, the heat from the burn affects the skinís blood vessels and causes them to dilate and the bloodís plasma to escape into the skin. This is what causes blisters on less severe burns. More severe burns do not blister but instead become very raw and ooze plasma. This leads to a critical loss of liquids that can cause burn victims to go into shock.

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