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A burn is caused when you damage your tissues after coming in contact with heat. Depending on the degree and severity of the burns and how deep the burn has penetrated the skin, burns can be classified into four categories. These categories include first-degree burns, second-degree burns, third-degree burns, and fourth-degree burns. The treatment administered to burns also depends on the degree of burn. If an individual has sustained a burn of mild to moderate severity, it can be treated at home. However, medical professionals must be consulted if an individual has sustained a severe third to fourth-degree burn.


Let us dive into the first three degrees of burns, their impact, and how to treat them.

What Are the Degrees of Burns?

Injuries by burns are extremely common. While some are mild that can be treated at home, more severe burns require medical attention. A higher degree of burn if left untreated can cause severe damage to your skin, muscles, and even bones. It might also increase the amount of time it would have originally taken to heal. The common cause of burns includes open flames, radiation, chemicals, electrical mishaps, getting in contact with too-cold or too-hot objects, and more. 


  • First-Degree Burns

In a first-degree burn, the outer or topmost layer of your skin is affected. For example, a mild sunburn is an example of a first-degree burn. Furthermore, first-degree burns rarely cause long-term permanent damage and do not lead to any blisters. In most cases, you will only experience mild pain and redness. 


These are also referred to as superficial burns since the burns are only limited to the epidermis i.e., the outer layer of the skin. Such a burn is also often characterised by dry skin and a change in the colouring of the skin. Other symptoms include swelling, minor inflammation, and peeling skin. 


Since first-degree burns only affect the top layer of the skin, they can heal within 7 to 10 days after you have sustained the injury. First-degree burns can be treated at home. The quicker you administer the first aid, the quicker the healing process will be. There are several ways you can treat a first-degree burn. These include soaking the burn wound with cold water for 5 to 10 minutes, taking medicine for relief from pain, applying an antiseptic or aloe vera gel or cream to soothe the skin, and using an antibiotic cream or ointment and gauze to protect the burned area.


More importantly, you should make sure to not use ice on the burned area. It can worsen the damage caused by the burn. You should also avoid using cotton on the burn because small fibres often stick to the affected skin and increase the risk of infections. Lastly, you should avoid using butter or oil in the affected area since they trap heat and increase the burns. 


  • Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are a little more severe than first-degree burns. Though they can still be categorised as moderate burns. Second-degree burn blisters reach the dermis, which is the lower layer of the skin, after damaging the top layer of the skin. Similar to first-degree burns, second-degree burns are also characterised by redness of the skin, pain, and swelling. The burned area might even appear blistered. You might also feel pain when you touch the burned area. 


Second-degree burns can be further classified into two types. These include a superficial second-degree burn and a deep partial thickness burn. When you have sustained a superficial burn, the burn wouldn’t damage your dermis and leave no scars. However, if you have sustained a more severe deep partial thickness burn, the burn might cause a permanent change in the colour of the skin and leave scars. 


You must keep the burned area clean and bandage it properly. It not only speeds up recovery but also prevents infections. Most second-degree burn blisters wouldn’t take two weeks to heal. However, more severe burns can take anywhere between two to three weeks to heal. Furthermore, these heal without scarring but lead to a change in the colour of the skin. 


Though home remedies that you should avoid remain the same as in the case of first-degree burns, the treatment for second-degree burns changes. These include running the burned area under cool water for over 15 minutes, applying antibiotic cream or ointment to the burned area, and taking pain medications for pain relief. However, you should seek medical assistance in case you notice the burn has affected a widespread area, including your face, hands, feet, groyne, etc. 


  • Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are severe burns that damage both the epidermis and dermis and reach the innermost layers of the skin. Third-degree burns reach the subcutaneous tissue and might appear charred white or blackened. These are referred to as full-thickness burns due to the damage these cause to two layers of skin. Furthermore, you might not feel pain in case of third-degree burns since these often destroy the nerve endings. 


As the severity of the third-degree burns can be concluded from the damage mentioned above, these are the most severe burns among all the three discussed above. The symptoms of third-degree burns range from char, waxy and white colour, instead of red, leathery texture, and blisters. Third-degree burns would require you to get surgery, otherwise, it leads to contracture and leaves severe scars. Furthermore, no fixed time has been defined for treating third-degree burns. Since third-degree burns have the most complications in terms of infections, you must never use a home remedy to treat them.


Different degrees of burns require different levels of treatment. The more severe the burn injury you have sustained, the quicker you should seek medical help. Though mild to moderate burns, such as first-degree burns and second-degree burns, can be treated at home with effective home remedies. However, more severe burns, like third-degree burns and even fourth-degree burns require immediate medical attention. First, second and third-degree burn treatment can cost you or your family a fortune, particularly if surgery is required in more severe cases. 


Thus, we bring you a special financial cover called the Burns Cover, which you can avail via Bajaj Markets to cover the costs of your treatment. Now, you can get the best aid for your burn injuries without any worries about finance.


Burns are severe injuries and should receive proper treatment and care. Though home remedies work sufficiently for mild burn injuries, you must still seek professional help if you notice the burn has impacted a wider region, particularly more than 3 inches. In more severe cases, such as third-degree burns, you should avoid administering home-based treatments and immediately consult a doctor. The more severe the burn injury you have sustained, the more dangerous it is and must be treated or it can even prove fatal.


What is a fifth-degree burn?

Fifth-degree burn injuries involve complete damage to the skin and subcutaneous tissues, leaving the muscles exposed. Furthermore, fifth-degree burns may require amputation due to damaged muscles. These can even be fatal due to severe damage to major arteries and veins.

What are the most common burn injuries?

Scalding burn injuries followed by thermal burns and electrical burns are the most common burn injuries.

What percent of burn injuries can be fatal?

If you have sustained more than 30% of burn injuries, it can be fatal.

What are the primary types of burn injuries?

The primary types of burn injuries include first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. Each type is categorised based on its severity and the damage it causes.

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