A common type of catastrophic injury that accident victims can sustain is burns. A burn is damage sustained to the tissue that is caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation, or the sun, and they are typically classified, based on their severity, as either a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree burn.
While first-degree burns are mild and only affect the top layer of skin, second-degree burns affect the skin’s top and lower layers causing swelling, redness, blistering, and pain. First-degree and second-degree burns can be treated at home, but you should still see a medical professional.
Third-degree burns are the most severe type, requiring specialized care as they can be life-threatening. These burns affect all three layers of your skin as well as your sweat glands, hair follicles, bone, and nerve endings. With third-degree injuries, your skin can turn back, white, or red and can have a leathery appearance.
No matter the burn degree, these injuries can impact your immune health, physical and mental well-being, and appearance. You can sustain a burn injury almost anywhere—from home, at work, in the car, or at a restaurant. In this article, we will outline what often causes burn injuries.
What Are the Common Causes of Burn Injuries?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly half a million people are treated in the ER for burn injuries annually. While some burns are accidental, other burns are sustained in negligence-based accidents. For instance, burn injuries can be caused by:
- Building fires. If your apartment, home, workplace, or building is not up to code, a fire may break out because of faulty wiring; building fires can also be caused by neglected cigarettes or food that is left on the stove/in the oven cooking.
- Car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicular accidents. After getting into an accident involving a vehicle, a fire may break out or the vehicle may explode, which can lead to serious burn injuries.
- Chemical accidents. If you are involved in a truck accident with a vehicle that is hauling chemicals, in a workplace environment or class where chemicals are improperly handled, or around chemicals for one reason or another, you can suffer a chemical burn from acid, lye, concrete mix, cleaning supplies, chlorine, or bleach.
- Defective products. If a product is not properly designed or has a combustible fuel source or batteries, it may overheat and then spark, which can lead to burn injuries.
- Electrocutions. Many construction workers experience electrical burns while on their job sites. They (as well as others) may also suffer flash arc burns or thermal contact burns if exposed to high electrical currents.
- Gas explosions. A gas explosion can occur on a work site, at a barbecue by a grill, in gas furnaces or water heaters, or in any instance where propane, fuel, or natural gases are around.
- Medical procedures. A person can suffer burn injuries because of surgical, cosmetic, or other forms of medical treatment. Most commonly radiation treatment, fluoroscopy, or treatments that use ultraviolet light or microwave energy cause radiation burns.
- Reactional activity accidents. People at bonfires, barbecues, cooking classes, or other recreational activities are at risk of being burned by a flame. Even relaxing at home or with friends, a person can be burned by a flame from a stove, heater, or other faulty equipment.
- Scalding water. Hot liquids or steam from coffee, tea, water, or soup can cause various serious burns if a person drinks the scalding liquid or is touched by the beverage’s steam.
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