- Injuries that result from direct contact with or exposure to any thermal, chemical, or radiation sources are termed as burns
- Burn injuries occur when energy from heat source is transferred to the tissue of the body
Common places and causes of burn injury
- Fertilizers/ pesticides
- Electricity from power lines
- Hot metals
- Sparks from live electric sources
- Steam pipes
- Combustible fuels
- Home or recreational hazards
Kitchen / bathroom
- Pressure cookers
- Hot grease or hot liquids from cooking
- Microwaved food
- Hot water heater
- Gas fireplaces
- Carelessness with cigarettes and matches
- Open space heaters.
- Frayed or defective wiring
- Improper use / storage of flammables (e.g. starter fluid , gasoline, kerosene)
- Improper use of outdoor grills
- Radiators (home or automobiles)
- Multiple extension cords per outlet
Types and Etiology
- Categorized according to the mechanism of injuries
- Thermal burns:
- by exposure to or contact with flame
- hot liquids, semi liquids ( steam), semisolids(tar)
- hot objects like residential fires
- exposure to automobile accidents
- scald injuries, clothing, ingestion
- poorly stored flammable liquids
- Chemical burns :
They are generally associated with acidic or alkaline solutions, such as bleach, drain or toilet cleaners or metal cleaners.
- occur from direct contact with chemical or splashing onto skin or eyes.
- Risk group: Industrial, military or agricultural chemicals at work
- Electrical burns
- The amount of current (low-high voltage or high tension), type of current (direct or alternating) and path of current( hand to toe), length of contact, and extenuating events ( water or fall).
- Direct current such as lightening, defibrillator.
- Alternating current produces tetany and a locked on phenomenon in which the person cant let go the source.
- Radiation burns :
- Sunburn, nuclear radiation accidents, industrial radiation and therapeutic radiation.
- The degree of injury depends on the length of exposure, strength of radiation, distance from the source and amount of body surface exposed to the source.
- Erythema, blistering, wet or dry desquamation or ulceration.
- Inhalation injury
- Occurs when a person directly inhales smoke, hot air, flames or systemic toxins such as carbon monoxide.
- Residential and building fires
- Signs are soot around the nose and mouth, early respiratory distress, and facial burns
- Scalds, house hold chemicals, electrical residential fires are seen in from birth to 4 years of age.
- Residential fires and risky behaviors seen in 5 to 14 years.
- Automobile related and work related seen in 15 - 24 years.
- Work related seen in 25 to 64 years.
- Scalds, smoking and cooking accidents seen in more than 65 years.