Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Burns Overview

What are burns?
A person with a burn has an injury to the skin caused by exposure to excessive heat. Household burns and sunburn are common causes of burns. A chemical burn, electrical injury, or radiation exposure can also cause burns to the skin. Burns are classified as first-degree burns, second-degree burns, or third-degree burns.

What are the symptoms of burns?
Symptoms of a burn depend on the severity. Common symptoms of a superficial, first-degree burn include skin pain, skin redness, and skin swelling. Second-degree burns cause blisters to form because more of the skin is injured. Severe, third-degree burns cause charring and numbness of the skin because all layers of the skin are injured.

How does the doctor treat burns?
Treatment for a burn may include wound care, antibiotic cream, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and narcotic pain medications. Treatment for severe burns may include surgery and skin grafts.

Continue to Burns Incidence

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Burns References
  1. Allison K, Porter K. Consensus on the prehospital approach to burns patient management. Emerg Med J. 2004 Jan;21(1):112-4. [14734397]
  2. Drago DA. Kitchen scalds and thermal burns in children five years and younger. Pediatrics. 2005 Jan;115(1):10-6. [15629975]
  3. Phillips BJ, Kassir A, Anderson B, Schiller WR. Recreational-outdoor burns: the impact and severity--a retrospective review of 107 patients. Burns. 1998 Sep;24(6):559-61. [9776095]
  4. Smith MA, Munster AM, Spence RJ. Burns of the hand and upper limb--a review. Burns. 1998 Sep;24(6):493-505. [9776087]
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