Burns can vary wildly from very minor to very serious depending on the temperature of the heat and how long the skin was in contact with that heat. Other types of burns are caused by chemicals and toxins that do damage to the skin as well. The extent of the burns will have a direct impact on the treatment needed and the healing process.
Burn Injuries in Degrees
When your skin is burned, the injuries will be denoted by a degree that shows how bad it is. These degrees include:
- 1st Degree, which means the burn is very minor. The skin is red and uncomfortable but there are no blisters.
- 2nd Degree, which means there has been some damage to the skin and there are blisters as well.
- 3rd Degree, which means the skin has been damaged deeply and it appears white or leathery in texture.
- 4th Degree, which means the skin and deeper tissues have been damaged, including tendons, muscles, and bone.
Obviously, a very minor 1st degree burn to the hand can be treated with a burn cream at home. However, anything worse can result in infection, so it must be treated properly.
Treatments for Burn Injuries
Immediately following the burn itself, the hand should be cleaned and then the victim should be taken to a doctor or hospital. As a general rule, burns to the hand will be treated and then the patient will be allowed to go home. However, if the burns are severe or infection is present, then the patient may need to stay in the hospital.
1st degree burns are usually treated with just pain medications and they will heal within a few days to a week.
2nd degree burns may require that the hand be splinted to protect from stiffness. Open surfaces will be cleaned properly and the victim will be told how to clean them at home. In some cases, damaged skin may need to be removed and skin grafts may be required. Usually, 2nd degree burns take a few weeks to heal.
3rd degree burns will need more extensive work. Dead or severely damaged skin will be removed and then skin grafts will be used to replace the lost skin. Then, the hand or forearm will be splinted so that it can heal properly.
If the burn goes all the way around the arm or hand, then this could constrict the blood flow and cause further damage. In these cases, a surgical procedure may be needed to correct the issue.
If burn injuries are severe, then rehabilitation will be needed to ensure the patient gets full use of their hand back. This is especially important if the burns are very deep or if other injuries happened in conjunction with the burn itself. Further surgeries may be needed at times depending on the severity of the burns and how they have healed up. It is important to follow through with therapies and further appointments to ensure use of the hand is restored.