More than 300,000 people die each year from burn injuries. Many more are seriously injured, disabled, or disfigured.
There are four general types of burn injuries:
1. Thermal burns
Caused by flame, heat, or a chemical reaction. They include:
- Flame burns – Flames cause a direct heat and burn injury to the skin and sometimes deeper tissues.
- Heat burns – In some cases, heat can be so intense that contact with a flame is not necessary to cause injury.
- Contact burns – Coming into contact with a hot object such as a stove.
2. Chemical burns
These burns occur most often in industrial settings, when victims contact hazardous chemicals. But they can also result from contact with household cleaners and swimming pool chemicals.
3. Scald burns
Scalding burns are produced by hot liquids such as boiling water or cooking oil. These are the most common burns in children.
4. Electrical burns
In addition to the actual burn, electricity can cause serious internal injuries that are not immediately visible to emergency personnel or other healthcare providers. These injuries can range from ruptured eardrums, to broken bones, to a heart attack.