What Are Burns?

Burns are a type of traumatic injury caused by thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy.  An open flame is the leading cause of burn injury for adults, while scalding is the leading cause of burn injury for children. Both infants and the elderly are at the greatest risk for burn injury.

The effects of burns

A severe burn can be a seriously devastating injury - not only physically but emotionally. It can affect not only to the burn victim, but the entire family. Persons with severe burns may be left with a loss of certain physical abilities, disfigurement, loss of a limb, loss of mobility, scarring, and infection. In addition, severe burns are capable of penetrating deep skin layers, causing muscle or tissue damage that may affect every system of the body.

Burns can also cause emotional problems such as depression, nightmares, or flashbacks from the traumatizing event. The loss of a friend or family member and possessions in the fire may add grief to the emotional strain of a burn.

The skin and its functions

The skin is the body's largest organ, covering the body. It is composed of various layers, with each layer performing specific functions. In addition to serving as a protective shield against heat, light, injury, and infection, the skin also:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Stores water and fat
  • Serves as a sensory organ
  • Prevents water loss
  • Prevents entry of bacteria

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