3 Things You May Not Know About Burn Treatment

No one likes getting hurt, and burns are probably at the top of the list of injuries to avoid -- unfortunately, accidents still happen. While burns can be quite serious, modern medical technology has treating them down to a science. Here is what you should know about burn treatment:

People With Burns May Need To Be Treated At A Burn Center

Minor, first-degree burns can be easily treated at home with over-the-counter products found in any drugstore. Second-degree burns that are small and aren't located on your face, throat, groin, hands, or soles of the feet are often treated at home after initial treatment in the emergency room. When second-degree burns are located in the above areas, are large or deep, or when third-degree burns comprise more than 10 percent of the body's skin, extensive treatment will be needed at a skilled burn center.

Your Burns May Need Debriding

If you have suffered second-degree or greater burns, you will need to go through debridement. This is the process where dead tissue is removed. This procedure will need to be performed repeatedly and regularly throughout the healing process, and it is done both inpatient and outpatient.

Debridement can cause a lot of stress. It is not a comfortable process, physically or emotionally. It can be anxiety-inducing, painful, and mentally disconcerting to see and feel dead tissue being peeled and scraped away.

Patients are usually given intravenous fluids and a sedative prior to each debridement session. They will also be given a dose of pain medication to ensure it is at its height of efficacy. Local anesthesia may be used as well. Patients will also be hooked up to a heart monitor and a blood oxygen sensor to ensure the stress level isn't becoming too high. In patients with severe burns covering a lot of their body, debridement may be done while they are unconscious under general anesthesia.

Debridement techniques include physically peeling away or surgically removing dead tissue, using chemical creams that encourage the dead skin to fall away, or applying wet dressings and allowing them to dry before removing, which removes a lot of dead tissue. Hydrotherapy may also be used -- this procedure involves the application of gentle water pressure to remove the dead skin.

You May Need Physical Therapy

While it is important for the burns to heal, it's also important that the new skin growth that occurs during the healing process is exercised. For example, as a severe burn to the hand heals, the patient will need to go through physical therapy so the new skin doesn't become thickened or tight, preventing movement.