The most damaging and aggressive effect that can impact the body tissue coverage (skin and mucosa) is made by burns.

During an acute phase (soon after the burn), it interferes in the functioning of the organism, depending on the depth and especially the extension of the burn, in some cases life-threatening. Burns impairing more than 20% of body area, are considered severe, resulting in special life-threatening care.

When we refer to burns, it is common to immediately link the cause to fire. This is because fire is the most common and dramatic agent to cause a burn. But burns can also be caused by localized cold or sub-freezing temperature, as well by chemical agents such as acids, caustic soda, etc.  and in addition burns can be caused by electric energy, such as those high voltage wires, or children that stick their fingers in the socket or bring a socket to the mouth. Finally, radiation can cause burns, such as those that occurred in the tragic episodes of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The immediate treatment of any burn should be hospitalization, under the supervision of a qualified plastic surgeon and with the support of a clinical team and intensivists, if it is the case of severe burnings, to safeguard the life of the patient.

As for local treatment, the initial guidance of a plastic surgeon is recommended, who will use the proper dressing and medication routine. This appropriate initial treatment will prevent infections and worsening of the scars. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid home treatments such as toothpaste, oils, etc. These sometimes can aggravate the area more. Classical systemic treatment relies on wound cleaning in a clean environment, treatment of pain and treatment of the patient’s generic health conditions, which will always be compromised in a severe burn, including antibiotic therapy.

If the burn is first or second degree, it will be cured in 10 to 14 days after much pain, but without scarring or sometimes small dyschromia. But if it is a third-degree burn, with destruction of the skin in all its thickness, although there is no pain because even the nerve endings have been destroyed, the treatment and prognosis are much more serious. There will be a need for skin grafting, a highly specialized surgical procedure which will be performed several days later, when the area of dead skin is already defined. With these level of burns, there will be scaring.

There is a popular belief that you will go to the plastic surgeon to remove those scars, which is a great mistake because there are no techniques for changing skin in large areas. Plastic surgery can either remove the scars partially, expand neighboring tissues to decrease its area, or finally treat retractions that promote areas of flexion such as elbow, armpit, neck etc.

The most important approach for this topic of BURNS is PREVENTION. Children should not be allowed to play with fire, there should be no pots left on the stove with the handle sticking out where there are children. There needs to be extra caution when lighting BBQ pits, or by throwing alcohol directly from the bottle that may explode in its own bottle. Do not leave electrical outlet at the level where it is easily accessible.

Prevent burns, protect your children.