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Sunday, November 3, 2013

2nd ( second ) degree burns of the hand, smoke inhalation injury, house fire

Dear Burns Surgeon,

I was wondering if you could tell me, what effects does smoke inhalation have on the body?
And also, if you were to try to put out the flames to a house fire with your hands, what sort of burns would you most likely sustain? Do you have any relevant pictures of these sorts of burns before they have healed and are quite new?
I am researching this information for an assessment, I would very much appreciate any help you can give me.
Thank you,
A Twyford

Dear ms Twyford,

Thanks for the letter. When the house catches fire, we panic and in that panic situation we hardly take any precautions like wearing gloves or gas masks. In trying to put out the flames one may suffer from two problems:

a) smoke inhalation injury
Smoke inhalation injury as the name implies results from the smoke inhaled by the person liberated during the fire. Smoke causes damage because of
i) the heat or thermal injury
ii) the different gases and chemical constituents  present in the smoke

Severe smoke inhalation injury therefore can result in respiratory distress or breathing difficult, direct tissue and lung damage, which can  later be complicated by infection, pneumonia, collapse, ARDS ( adult respiratory distress syndrome ) and respiratory failure. The gases like carbon monoxide  are absorbed in the body and result in toxicity and injury to the brain and heart. Other toxic substances which are  generally products of incomplete combustion attached to smoke particles also are inhaled and cause severe injury depending on their chemical nature.

b) direct burns
In a house fire it is difficult to predict what type of hand burns the individual will suffer from. 
Hand burns may be of different grades- 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree depending on the fire as well as the time and extent of exposure. Often the person may suffer contact burns- which occurs when the hand comes in direct contact with the hot or burning object. Contact burns are usually deep.

Hand burns can be devastating as they can end up in severe deformities. While superficial burns may heal well, the deep 2nd degree and 3rd degree burns may need surgery of skin grafting for proper healing. The second degree burns itself may be confusing as within the second degree burns itself we may find different presentations such as shown above. Some areas may have blistering, others  peeled skin and still others with dark red bloody color. Some of these areas may become deeper and change their degree, hence a daily follow up is essential in following these burn wounds. Infection can often cause a burn to become deeper and so can poor circulation or blood flow to the burn wound. The burn wound shown above healed over a period of twenty days with achievement of full hand function.

Hope this information was helpful,

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1 comment:

  1. Helli I sustained a deep 2nd degree burn to my hand. I work in a hospital aa a CNA my employer said there are no axcomodations to ward against infection control while wearing my burn glove...is thia true..my doctor says I have to wear the glove as a part of the healing process.