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Is That Worth A Trip To The Emergency Room?

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Burns are a painful and difficult injury that may require serious treatment. In some instances, severe burns may even require a trip to the emergency room. Here's how to tell when that difficult step is necessary.

Burns Come In Various Degrees

Most people have heard of the various degrees of burns. The least serious is a first-degree burn. This typically causes pain and light swelling on the outer layer of the skin. Think of what happens when trying to pick up a hot pan off the stove. Second-degree burns affect a few underlying layers of skin and cause redness, swelling, and blistering. Third-degree cause white, blackened, or burned skin deep into the skin.

Obviously, most first-degree burns can be treated by basic care at home. Burn cream or even an ice pack should help bring down the swelling. However, actual exposure to fire or extended exposure to a hot surface can cause more serious burns. At what point does an emergency room visit become necessary?

Some Second And All Third-Degree Burns Need Emergency Room Treatment

Minor second-degree burns typically don't need emergency room treatment. For example, a second-degree burn on the upper arm can get treatment in an in-patient or walk-in clinic. However, more widespread second-degree burns (such as burns across a significant portion of the back) or on sensitive areas should be treated in an emergency room. The hands, face, groin, feet, and buttocks are all areas where second-degree burns are very dangerous.

However, all third-degree burns need emergency room treatment due to their severity. They simply can't wait because nerve damage and more serious problems may have occurred. Third-degree burn symptoms include a lack of pain at the site (due to damaged nerves), charred skin, a waxy color, and a leathery texture to the skin.

How Emergency Rooms Treat Burns

An emergency room will take care of a serious second-degree or third-degree burn by carefully cooling the skin and applying painkiller. These painkillers help eliminate severe stress in the patient and makes it easier for them to work. They may also have to cut away some dead skin and work on the nerves to ensure that they don't get permanently damaged.

Once the wounds have been assessed, they will be dressed and medicines given to assure that the pain doesn't get too severe. The basic step here is to stop the damage from spreading or becoming more severe. Blood loss or nerve damage may be possible in these instances.

The use of a good emergency room like Van Wert County Hospital is crucial to protecting yourself from serious second-degree and third-degree burns. Don't neglect to visit one if you suffer from this serious danger.