Thanks to research and advancements in medicine, the prognosis for surviving a burn injury is much better now than it was in the past. However, while a person is now more likely to survive a severe burn injury, it could cause permanent scarring and other impairments.
It may not be the burn injury alone that causes impairments. It could also be the complications that stem from it.
A severe burn injury can negatively affect the immune system. As a result, the body is more vulnerable to infection. The skin helps to protect the body against disease by forming a barrier to keep out pathogens. A burn injury compromises this defense, which also makes infection a more likely possibility.
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the body responds to threats such as foreign materials, cancer cells or pathogens with an inflammatory response. This is a normal response that is often effective at protecting the body.
However, the body’s inflammatory response to a burn injury can do more harm than good. Severe swelling called edema can occur due to fluid becoming trapped in the body. The body can go into shock due to the fluid loss that occurs in an inflammatory response. Both shock and edema can prevent the organs of the body from getting enough oxygen.
Some organs are particularly susceptible to failure due to oxygen loss. They include the brain, heart, kidneys and lungs. These are all vital organs, and a failure of any of them could result in death. Even if nonfatal, the effects can have lifelong consequences.