The skin is the body’s largest organ. A burn is an injury to this organ. Burn treatments vary based on the severity of the injury. 

Causes: Chemical burns, electrical burns, faulty appliances (i.e., space heaters), fire/flame (hot liquid, steam), kitchen accidents (hot surfaces, stoves, ovens, irons), motor vehicle accidents. 

Signs and Symptoms:  Blistering, coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing (burned airway), oozing fluid, pain, peeling skin, red/white or charred skin, shock, swelling.

First Degree Burn (Superficial):  A first degree burn affects only the uppermost or outer layer of the skin. This burn causes mild redness, swelling and pain.

Second Degree Burn (Partial Thickness):  A second degree burn, or partial thickness, burn affects both the upper layer of the skin and the skin underneath it. Some specific symptoms for this burn include:  redness, swelling, pain and blistering.

Third Degree Burn:  A third degree, or full thickness, burn is the most severe and destroys the deep layers of the skin. This can lead to numb skin and white or blackened skin. 

DO NOT Apply ointments or any household remedies to severe burns.

DO NOT Blow air or cough on the burn.

DO NOT Disturb any blister or charred skin.

DO NOT Give the person anything to eat or drink of the burn is severe.

DO NOT Place a severe burn under ice-cold water.

DO NOT Remove anything that is stuck to the burn.

DO NOT Touch the burn and risk infection.

DO NOT Use any king of dressing that may stick to the burn.

As we age, bodily functions decline and as a result older people often have poor vision, hearing and/or sense of smell – all of which carry a greater risk of a burn. Drawing bath water that is too hot is a common burn seen in elderly people. Therefore, caregivers and older people should take precautions with daily activities to minimize accidents – such as setting the temperature back on the hot water heater. A hot bowl of soup could also be a source of burn for the elderly. The thinner skin of an elderly person can cause a burn to be much more serious. The risk of infection is also greater.