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What is a third-degree burn?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

A burn injury can completely disrupt your life. It can alter your ability to perform basic tasks, to remain in your area of employment and more.  There are three main types of burns: first-degree, second degree and third-degree. While fourth-degree burns do exist, they are essentially the same as third-degree burns except that the burn extends to muscle, tendon or bone. 

Healthline explains the symptoms and complications of catastrophic burn injuries. 

How can you identify third-degree burns?

Third-degree burns affect every layer of your skin. While you may initially think that these burns are more painful, they can also present with no pain. The burn can damage the nerves and hence cause little to no pain. 

To identify a third-degree burn, you may notice a dark brown or white waxy color, leathery texture, char and blisters that cannot develop. Some patients require surgery and without surgery, complications and scarring are more likely. 

What are the complications of third-degree burns?

If you suffer a third-degree burn, you should never treat it at home. Burn victims should seek medical attention immediately. These burns carry the highest risk of complications. Bacterial infections such as sepsis and tetanus are possible in third-degree burns. Infection is a high risk in third-degree burns because of the broken skin. Bacteria can easily enter a burn area. 

Other complications include blood loss and shock. You may suffer from hypovolemia, which occurs when you have low blood volume due to blood loss. When you suffer a burn, you lose body heat and for severe burns, you could become hypothermic.