What are burns?
Burns are a type of injury caused by heat. The heat can be thermal, electrical, chemical,
or electromagnetic energy. Most burn accidents happen at home. About 75% of all burn
injuries in children are preventable.
Smoking and open flame are the leading causes of burn injury for older adults. Scalding
is the leading cause of burn injury for children. Both infants and the elderly are
at the greatest risk for burn injury.
What are the different types of burns?
A burn injury usually results from an energy transfer to the body. There are many
types of burns caused by thermal, radiation, chemical, or electrical contact:
Thermal burns. Burns due to external heat sources that raise the temperature of the skin and tissues
and cause tissue cell death or charring. Hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, and
flames, when coming in contact with the skin, can cause thermal burns.
Radiation burns. Burns caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun, or to other sources
of radiation such as X-ray.
Chemical burns. Burns caused by strong acids, alkalies, detergents, or solvents coming into contact
with the skin and/or eyes.
Electrical burns. Burns from electrical current, either alternating current (AC) or direct current