Burn By Its Severity - 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Degree Burns


Cuts and burns are common in our day to day lives, especially with children and housewives engaged in domestic works. While a cut simply refers to an injury with bleeding caused by a sharp object, burns are characterized by minor to severe skin and tissue damages caused by many reasons including heat, cold, electricity, radiation, chemical, or friction.


Domestic burn accidents, generally happen due to negligence or ignorance, found to be both minor and serious injuries. Minor burns affect only the superficial layers of skin, called the first degree burns and in most cases are treatable at home without complications. But we also hear of severe accidents in homes with second, third, or even fourth degree burn injuries which call for immediate hospitalization.


Different Degrees Of Burn

First degree burns:

Affect only the superficial or outer layer of skin and last for 4-6 days, with the burn-area becoming red, painful, and dry but with no blisters. Usually get cured at home on its own or by some topical medicines.

Second degree burns:

Affect the epidermis or outer layer as well as inner or dermis layer of skin. The burnt area turns deep red and may appear wet, shiny, and swollen with blisters and pain.

Third degree burns:

A deep burn type in which the injury causes the skin death by turning it white and without sensation. In more severe cases the damage may progress even to tissues underneath.

Fourth degree burns:

Most severe burn type in which the burn injury extends beyond skin and tissues to affect tendons and bones.


Burn Care Treatments By Severity - 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Degree Burns

As we know that severe burn injuries of third and fourth degrees are serious medical conditions and subjects of treatments in hospitals, there is nothing that the readers of this article can do about them except for getting the patient admitted in a hospital immediately. But for the first and second degree burns it helps to learn about treatments and healing which can be easily done at home.

First degree burn treatment:

Since first degree burns affect the outer layer of skin only they are much easier to treat and in most cases can be healed through careful home cares and over-the counter medicines. The burned skin may get swollen and the person may feel slight feverish. First degree burns usually get cured at home on its own or by some topical medicines such as lidocaine with aloe vera gel. Taking aspirin or acetaminophen for pain relief and applying cool compress (soaking the burnt area with wet cloth for five minutes or longer) can also prove to be useful. Using antibiotic ointment and covering the affected area with loose gauze protect the area from infection.

Second degree burn treatments :

Second degree burns, as the name suggests, causes more damage by penetrating deeper into the skin. Both epidermis and dermis layers of skin in the burnt area gets damaged and therefore it requires more knowledge and care for treatment. Second degree burns often turn the area deep red and swollen. Blisters and pain are also common in the second degree burn and with some of the blisters pop open the affected area appear watery and shiny. This leads to development of thick, soft, scab-like tissues called fibrinous exudate, over the affected surface which should be cleaned and wrapped to prevent it from infection and quick healing.


Treatments for mild second degree burns are more like those for the first degree burns which include -

  • Immediately washing of the affected area under 10-15 minutes and cool compressing in the following days.
  • Taking over-the counter medicines for pain reduction.
  • Applying aloe vera based antibiotic creams to soothe the blisters and save from infections.


Expert medical help should be taken to treat more acute second degree burns spreading over larger areas on face, hands, buttocks, groin , feet, etc. The condition of blisters are important for the healing time.


With proper medicines and care, healing of second degree burns should not take more than two to three weeks without scar marks but it takes a little longer to get the natural skin color back. In some severe cases skin grafting may be required to bring back the original skin conditions.

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