ZocdocAnswersHow can I find out what degree burn I have from a burn injury?

Question

How can I find out what degree burn I have from a burn injury?

I'm 28 and some hot milk spilled on my arm. It hurts but not too bad. I'd like to know what degree burn I have just for reference so I know how to treat it better if something similar happens in the future. Again, it isn't too bad, but I'd like to know.

Answer

Burn injuries can be very severe, and there is a grading scale available that is simple to understand and is valuable in helping to determine the appropriate treatment. It is important to understand that burn depth is usually variable and non-uniform, so a 1st degree burn in one area will possibly be adjacent to a more serious burn which might require more treatment. Burns are graded according to the depth of the tissue involved. First degree burns simply involve the epidermis, or most superficial layer of the skin. These don't blister, and are painful and red. 2nd degree burns are partial thickness, and can further be subdivided into superficial and deep. Superficial partial thickness burns will have blistering, pain, and will require up to 3 weeks for healing. Deep partial thickness burns will have pain only to pressure, because the burn will be so deep that it will involve the hair follicles and some superficial nerve endings. 3rd degree burns completely burn through the skin, and will not be painful or blister. 4th degree burns involve the muscle, bone or other tissue deep to the skin, and are obviously the most severe. Please see a doctor if you have any concerns about your burn.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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