Understanding Burns: Causes and Types

Published on January 18th, 2018 by Diana Duren.

Approximately 80,000 children are treated for various burn injuries in hospital emergency rooms every year. Hot water scald burns can cause more death and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns. More than half of the children under the age of 4 who are hospitalized for burn-related injuries suffer from scald burns.

What is a Burn?

A burn is damage to the skin caused by heat, flame, electricity, hot liquids or chemicals. There are three types or degrees of burns.

  • Superficial or first-degree burns damage the top layer of skin, usually causing redness and pain like a sunburn.
  • Partial thickness or second-degree burns damage the deeper layers of skin, usually causing blisters and pain. The wounds should be pink or red under the blisters.
  • Full thickness or third-degree burns damage the entire thickness of skin, including nerves and blood vessels. The skin may be black (charred), brown or white.