Second Degree Burn Injury

A second degree burn is sometimes called a partial thickness burn. A second degree burn penetrates the epidermis and sometimes reaches the dermis. There is redness, blistering, and extensive pain. The pain is heightened due to the fact that the nerves are damaged, not destroyed. In a second degree burn, there can be damage to sweat glands and hair follicles, as well as severe swelling.

Most second degree burns require medical attention and will heal in 10-21 days. Second degree burns do leave a change in skin color and pigmentation. If the second degree burn is ivory or whitish in color, it will require a process known as debridement (scrubbing) to avoid any deep infection. Debridement will be followed up with skin grafting treatment.

Process in Burn Treatment

In the first day of treatment, there will be fluid resuscitation. This is necessary because the wound demands so much of the body’s fluids.

The second 24 hours will include regular debridement treatment, cleaning of the wounds, and periodic dressing changes. All of the dead skin must be removed, they will actually scrub until they draw blood to ensure there will be good circulation through the wound to facilitate healing and reduce infection.

At this point, compression garments will be used to minimize scar tissue. Compression garments will be used for 6 months – 3 years, depending on the individual.

Process of Healing

The first stage of healing is where you have an open wound that gets new skin on it or will have a skin grafting treatment. As soon as there is pink skin covering the burn, it is the end of the first stage of healing.

The second stage of healing is where the body tries to make scar tissue, the phase of hypertrophic burn scar formation. Over a period of time the chemical signals that tell the body to make scar tissue decrease and the tissue becomes soft and pliable. This stage can last 6 months – 3 years.

Long-Term Prognosis

There are many continuing issues with burned skin.

  • Dryness will always be a problem because the oil glands were damaged.
  • Some people have issues with sweating.
  • Burn victims are prone to eczema, because the skin is thinner and breaks down easier.
  • The burned area is prone to wrinkles at an earlier age.
  • The burn victim may have a permanent mesh pattern to the burned area if skin grafting was used.

A burn victim suffers more than visible injuries. They have to work through psychological and emotional issues. They frequently have nightmares, cold sweats, low self-esteem, and depression. Their world has been permanently changed and the adjustment can be very difficult.

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