A burn occurs when heat or a caustic (c)hemical substance damages your body’s tissues. There are three types of burns.
- Third-degree burn damages all layers of skin and the underlying fat, muscle, or bone.
- Second-degree burn damages the top layer and some underlying layers of skin.
- First-degree burn damages only the top layer of skin. It is a minor burn.
At Dignity Health, our skilled doctors provide focused emergency treatment for severe burns in Arizona. Our Phoenix area emergency rooms are located in Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Laveen, Goodyear, Surprise, Mesa, and Glendale.
Use our online InQuicker™ tool. It can reduce your waiting time in the ER.
Symptoms of Severe Burns
Symptoms depend upon the type of burn:
- Third-degree burn symptoms include white or charred black skin, dry or waxy appearance, and little to no pain because nerves have been damaged. The combination of tissue damage and fluid loss can be devastating. Shock and death can result from third-degree burns. Call 9-1-1 for a third-degree burn.
- Second-degree burn can cause redness or splotchy skin, severe pain, significant swelling, and blisters.
- First-degree burn symptoms include redness, pain, and minor swelling.
You should seek medical attention — same day or urgent care — for first- or second-degree burns if the burn is larger than two to three inches or the burn is on your face, scalp, genitals, hands, feet, or major joints.
What Causes Severe Burns
Common causes of burns are:
- Electricity from outlets or appliances
- Chemicals such as bleach, battery acid, and cleaners
- Scalds from steam, hot water, or hot food
- Heat from flames or hot objects such as stoves or irons
- Radiation from medical treatments or overexposure to the sun
Severe Burn Treatment
If you are in doubt about the degree of your burn, it’s important to see a doctor. You should also consult a doctor if the burn shows signs of infection such as oozing or increased pain, redness, or swelling.
Burn treatment depends upon the degree of the burn.
- Call 9-1-1.
- Cover the burn with a cool, clean cloth or bandage.
- Keep the burn area raised above the level of the heart.
- Do not immerse in water.
- Do not remove clothing stuck to the burn.
- Soak or run the burn under cool — not cold — water for five to 10 minutes. Do not use ice.
- Apply aloe vera or antibiotic cream and wrap with dry gauze.
- Remove jewelry or other tight items before swelling occurs.
- Do not break blisters. If blisters burst on their own, wash them gently and apply antibiotic cream and a special wound dressing (s)uch as Telfa brand that won’t stick to the surface of the blister. Cover the dressing with clean gauze.
As with second-degree burns, soak or run the burn under cool water, apply aloe vera or antibiotic cream, and wrap with dry gauze.
Dignity Health provides reliable emergency services, including treatment for severe burns, in Arizona.