We all experience burns from time to time. Thankfully, most of us only ever have to deal with the mildest of burns. Some cold water and aloe vera gel is usually enough for us. But what happens when you sustain a much more severe burn, such as a chemical burn?
Chemical burns occur when contact with a chemical causes damage to human tissue. The damage can be caused by direct contact, or by fumes emitted by the chemical. Depending on the severity of the damage, burns can have a huge impact on mental and physical health. Thankfully, most burns can be treated at home.
Although chemical burns might seem rare, there are a huge number of chemicals in every home across the United States that can cause serious burns. For this reason, chemical burns at home are more common than you might think.
According to the American Burns Association, in 2016 almost 500,000 people in the United States received treatment for burns. Of those burns, 73% took place in the home. However, not all burns were created equal.
There are many different types, all of which are categorized into one of three groups; first degree, second degree and third-degree burns. The category of a burn is dependent on how it affects the layers of the skin. There are three layers of the skin; the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis.
What Degree of Burns Can You Get?
First degree burns are the mildest of all three and don’t do any long-term damage to the skin. They can certainly be painful, but only reach the outer layer of the skin or the epidermis.
Second degree burns are more serious and cause damage to the dermis. They can cause lasting damage to the skin, although if treated properly they can heal fully.
Third degree burns are the most severe burns and reach down into the hypodermis. These burns can disfigure a person and significantly limit their abilities. A person who has sustained a third-degree burn needs emergency medical attention.
The way a burn is treated varies on the type of burn it is. For first degree burns, just 20 minutes of cold water or an ice pack on the burned area is sufficient treatment. Ibuprofen can be used for pain relief. Applying an anaesthetic cream containing aloe vera gel to the affected area can also help to sooth the skin.
An antibiotic cream and some loose gauze can help to protect the skin while it heals. There also cannabis based alternatives available for people who find it hard to get a suitable modern treatment as well.
Second-degree burns, on the other hand, need some more attention. These burns cause blisters to form, and the blisters need to be treated gently. The burned area should be gently washed and patted dry. A bandage should be loosely applied over blisters to protect them from being rubbed by contaminated clothing and burst accidentally.
Studies show that CBD (also known as cannabidiol) from the cannabis and hemp plant contain medicinal properties. However, it’s important to note that CBD is still under clinical trials and its benefits and disadvantages are still unknown.
However, studies are still promising. Through extensive research, experts have discovered that CBD contains medical properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Where does this fit into treating burns?
Well, since burns and open wounds, in general, are prone to infection, CBD’s antibacterial properties may be able to combat infection or prevent it from spreading.
Third-degree burns cannot be treated at home. A trip to the emergency department and treatment from medical professionals is urgently needed. The fast you can get to a hospital, the better your chances of full recovery.
While most burns occur at home, most chemical burns occur at work. This is because businesses such as manufacturing plants are more likely to have hazardous chemicals. The level of damage caused by a chemical burn can depend on a variety of things, such as:
There are a number of key signs and symptoms to look out for following a chemical burn. These indicate the severity of the burn and the potential damage it has done to the tissue. The signs and symptoms of a chemical burn include but aren’t limited to:
If a person experiences any of these symptoms following a chemical burn, it’s crucial to urgently seek medical advice. Chemical injuries can be deceptive, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Minor chemical burns aren’t uncommon in the home or workplace. This is why it is so essential that parents keep all household chemicals out of the reach of children. This will help prevent any burns or similar hazards. However, accidents do happen even with the very best of intentions. So, if and when they do, know what to look out for and how to respond can make all the difference!