What is a third-degree burn?

On Behalf of Renick Law Firm, PLLC |
Sep 02, 2021 |

Burn injuries have many causes, including exposure to open flames, electrical shock, and scalding. While first and second-degree burns are definitely painful and often require medical treatment, third-degree burns are much more serious.

According to Healthline, third-degree burns can lead to major health issues and complications, including scarring, infections, and disability. Here are a few things to keep in mind about these serious injuries, so you can ensure the proper treatment for yourself or a loved one.

Characteristics of third-degree burns

Unlike first and second-degree burns, third-degree burns always require immediate medical attention from emergency personnel. This is because these burns penetrate through all layers of the skin, and sometimes even damage other tissues, such as bones and joints.

Third-degree burns cause distinct physical symptoms. While blistering does not usually occur, the skin may appear white and waxy. It can also take on a brown, charred color with a leather-like texture, depending on the severity of the burn. Third-degree burns are naturally less painful when there is extensive damage to the nerves.

Complications of third-degree burns

The deeper the damage to the skin, the greater the risk of infections, including bacterial infections like sepsis and tetanus. Major damage can also result in massive blood loss, which can then put a person into a state of shock. Third-degree burns also affect body temperature, which can lead to hypothermia if the temperature dips too low.

When it comes to the treatment of third-degree burns, options depend on the severity of the injuries and the presence of other complications. In many cases, patients must receive a combination of physical therapy, surgical procedures, and rehab to retain all or a portion of their former abilities.