Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Burns are when there is tissue damage done to a person. This tissue damage can be due to chemicals, heat, electricity, and radiation. Burns are common, and they can happen when you are doing something simple around the house, such as cooking or styling your hair, but some burns, depending on what happened, can be life threatening depending on the degree, location and treatment of a burn. Burns are categorized by location, amount of area burned, and how deep the burn is, which is called the degree.
Common classifications of burns are known as first, second, third, and forth degree burns. This is categorized by the symptoms and depth of the burn. First degree burns are the epidermis skin layer only and some of the symptoms you will have will be pain, tender, warm, and redness. A common type of first-degree burn is a sunburn from being outside. Second degree burns include the epidermis layer like the first-degree burn, but also the dermis layer of the skin. Symptoms you can have are swelling, redness, white color skin, pain, and blisters. Common causes of second-degree burns are sunburns that have caused blisters or if you encounter a hot object momentarily, such as when cooking or styling hair, chemical, electrical, and flames. Third degree burns go to the deep subcutaneous fat tissue layer. With third degree burns you can have numbness, destroyed nerve endings, charred look with black, brown, white, and red layers. Forth degree burns go past the layers of the skin and advance to the fat, muscle, and bone. Symptoms of a forth degree burn can be skin that is completely gone or severely charred, colored black, brown, red, white, and there is no physical pain.
Not only are there the complications with the skin being destroyed but there are other complications that can happen. These complications can include dehydration, loss of blood, low body temperature, scaring, mental anguish, fractures, bone, joint, and muscle problems. Also, two major complications that can happen is infection and respiratory problems. Infection, such as sepsis, can happen if the burn is not properly treated, which can then cause death or other problems. Respiratory problems become problematic when there is smoke and gas inhalation. Common respiratory problems are pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, and pneumonia. All of these are monitored by help of the radiographic department by taking radiograph of the patient’s chest.
Treating burns is very important so further complications do add to the current complications. First degree burns are commonly treated at home and normally take five to ten days to heal. You can relieve pain and help healing time with proper ointment and aloe placed on the burn. Second degree burns can be treated at home or in the doctor’s office depending on the area in which is burned. They can take two to three weeks to heal if made sure the area is cleaned daily and dressed as well as proper ointment placed on the area. When you have blisters with the second-degree burn do not burst them as it can cause an infection in the exposed area; however, if they do burst on their own, properly clean and cover the blister. When a person has a third and fourth degree burn it can take months for the area to heal and it may not heal like it was previously and could have scarring and different coloration. These burns need medical treatment. They will first check your respiration and fluid levels, then they will prepare to clean the burn removing any dead tissue. Pain will be controlled by medication and there will be also antibiotics given to help prevent the spread of infection. Depending on the severity of the burn you may have to go to a special burn center to recover. There may have to be skin grafts, plastic surgery, or even amputation depending on the burn and any symptoms from that burn. Part of the healing process may require physical or occupational therapy. In some cases, and degree of burns and complications, there is the possibility of death.
When assisting patients with burns that are being treated, you want to make sure you wear the correct personal protective equipment. You must have a mask, cap, gown, and proper hand hygiene including cloves. In some cases, if the degree of burn is bad and there is possible infection, you want to make sure you are using sterile precautions. Burn patients may come to radiology for multiple reasons and the main would be needing chest radiographs due to respiratory problems. There may also be a need if any possible fractures or foreign objects the patient may have. When working with a burn patient make sure the clean tech is working with the patient and dirty tech is working with all the equipment. Use more than one person to help move patient and use a transfer sheet. If patient is able to move, ask them to help if possible. If there is time before the exam, ask the nurse or doctor if it is possible to give the patient pain medication before the exam as they will need to move, and this can cause pain to the patient.
Burns are very common, and the outcome of burns can be more than we think. They can be as small as a scar to as large as possible skin grafts or amputation. In the worst cases it can cause death. The possibility of other complications and death can be a scary thing but knowing about burns and how to work with patients that have burns can help lessen the complications and allow the healing to start. Overall burns can heal fast within a couple days to taking as long as months and even years, depending on the degree.

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