Skin burns are one of the more painful injuries. It is critical that burns be treated promptly to avoid long term damage; often times, the risk of infection is very severe as the skin is open and prone to bacterial disease. Cooling the burn is extremely important, so ice-cold or cold water is crucial in the first few seconds of a burn. Once cold water or ice has been applied to reduce the immediate temperature, emergency services should be utilized. Covering the burn with gauze and taking an anti-inflammatory medication is recommended. Burns are very serious because they pose a large risk for infection given the open wounds and lack of skin protection.
Treatment of burns is a lengthy process often requiring months of therapy, as the healing process is slow. Treatment includes over the counter pain relievers in less serious burns. In serious cases, tetanus shots, antibiotics, skin grafting, and silver nitrate burn treatments are utilized. Before calling one of our Reno, Las Vegas, Summerlin or Henderson law offices, identify and get treatment for your burn. If you are in need of treatment and live in Nevada, Benson & Bingham can refer you to a specialist so you recover to the highest degree.
The types of burns are classified into (3) major degrees:
First Degree Burns are the outer layer of the skin. These are the least serious of burns, but still cause redness, swelling and pain.
Second Degree Burns are very painful accompanied by blisters and deep redness. The Mayo clinic suggests if the burn is larger than 3" then it is considered a major burn. Do not break the blisters as this will open up the underlying skin for increased risk of infection.
Third Degree Burns are the most serious and affect all layers of the epidermis/skin. Call 911 immediately and cover injuries with cool wet towels.
Hot water boils at 220 degrees Fahrenheit and will scald skin down to the dermis layers causing severe pain, but water need not be boiling to cause a burn. Coffee is typically served at 165 degrees and will scald most skin. The famous McDonald's coffee case is not typical of most cases. Without going into the merits of that case, the lady who was burned for spilling coffee suffered major burns to her skin and collected a major award (that was subsequently reduced on appeal); however, the failure to warn issues presented have created a major debate, but the public is not educated on the issues that were actually presented at trial. See Liebeck v. McDonalds's Restaurants, 1994. Hot Drinks like coffee and tea need to be handled very carefully.
Shock and infection can occur leading to serious health conditions. Scalding water is most common in hot drinks like tea and coffee where they are inadvertently spilled on guests in a restaurant or hotel. Frequently the cases Benson & Bingham encounter involve the use of hot liquids from accidental spills or mishandling of equipment that holds hot liquids. Hot shower water or bath water should be checked frequently, especially around children.
Steam is a very serious heat source and steam burns occur very quickly and are painful. Steam penetrates the skin pours faster then hot water. Steam is the result of water so hot that it evaporates into the air. Steam is the easiest way to get burned because the steam will penetrate the skin since it holds so much energy. Given your body is made of water, the steam opens the pores and melts the skin cells. Steam does not smell like smoke so the silent harm does not give warning.
Steam is a gas that is ultra heated causing instant penetration into the ski. Also known as thermal burns, these burns have very painful ramifications. Steam is so powerful, that it is often used in industrial applications to peel paint off of wood, clean fibers and melt piping. This shows how hot the steam gasses can be. Steam is used in commercial kitchens and throughout the hospitality industry in commercial applications like steam boilers.
Strong acids can cause chemical burns. Sulfuric acid and battery acid are more common industrial chemicals that burn upon contact. In the area of personal injury, we have handled chemical burns relating to negligent maintenance spa and Jacuzzi tub water. Mismanagement of the pool chemicals can create a major PH imbalance. Acid and chlorine must be properly maintained in pools to avoid chemical burns.
Chlorine, liquid gas, acid and other chemical burns effect the skin on contact and need to be treated as soon as possible.
Radiation burns can occur from simple sun tanning to tanning booths. Sun exposure is the most common form of a skin burn. Medical radiation is often used in Cancer treatments to kill cancer cells. Too much radiation will burn good and bad skin. Lasers are becoming more and more common in different industries. Firearms and power tools are using lasers as guides. Retina burns can occur from laser beams that do not appear harmful. Call Benson & Bingham today if a product has been misused causing a skin burn of any type.
Fire burns come from direct contact with a heat source emanating an extreme temperature. Fire temperature is around 980 degrees F with the blue flame or middle temps approaching 2,400 degrees F; thus it does not take much to melt the flesh of human skin. For more information on fire burns, reference Fire and Explosions.
Burns are treated based on the burn classification. 3rd degree burns get the most intense treatment requiring antibiotics and silver sulfadiazine treatments to help fight infection. Depending on the severity of the burn, skin grafts may be needed and are performed by plastic surgeons.
Las Vegas has only one burn care center, the Lions Burn Care Center at UMC. Opened since 1968, it is well recognized and helps with all types of burns: 702-383-2000.
For a burn care specialist in Reno, Tahoe or Northern Nevada, victims may need to be transported to the UC Davis Regional Burn Center for the best regional burn care. Once you have cared to your injuries, contact the attorneys at Benson & Bingham for a free case evaluation.