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Home treatment of 3rd degree burns or other injuries?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
This is going to sound stupid but it never occurred to me to go to a Dr/ER for a burn injury, I mean obviously if its looking infected or covering a large area yeah but I have never gone to a Dr for burns, including a 3rd degree burn that covered my entire left hand. Now granted my perception is a bit warped probably on this but here's why. My step brother and I ironically both burned our entire left hand on the same day pretty badly. 1st I fried my hand from an electrical burn thanks to advice from my stupid brother. I ended up with a charred black hand with some white areas in the webbing between fingers. Don't remember ever feeling any pain, just some shock symptoms which were treated at home (very long story). Now being the savvy kid I was I knew what to do when treating a burn (I was taking care of my own stitches by the time I was 4 so lots of 1st aid practice since step mom refused to treat my injuries/wounds, my mom made sure I knew how because of this) and didn't know it was that severe of a burn. I do remember asking to go to the ER but my step mom refused to take me and said my dad could take me when he got home if he felt like it and since I wasn't in pain it wasn't a big deal. (To this day I still believe this woman to be evil)

Anyway, Karma struck and swiftly (yes I know but if you knew the family dynamics you'd understand THAT feeling) That afternoon my step brother was refilling his zippo lighter and got fuel all over his hand and being the bright soul that he was proceeded to light up a smoke without washing his hands first 2nd degree burns that hurt like you know what. Still remember seeing his hand all red with huge blisters and telling him he was a stupid idiot because he of course immediately proceeded to slather his hand in BUTTER rather then cool water (I was 12 and he was 15 AND a boy scout and still obviously didn't know basic 1st aid)

He got hauled off to the ER by step mom all freaked out about her "poor baby getting burned" I however wasn't given the option and still since I had no pain they (dad and step mom) said I didn't need to see the Dr.

Now a day or 2 later I remember going with him to the Dr for a check up and what I saw I will never forget, they were actually scrubbing his skin off or at least thats what it looked like to me. I just remember my brother in agony while they did it. Dr noticed my hand was also wrapped and took a quick look at my hand and said I needed a Dr but my wise father and step mother said no it didn't hurt so why get stuck with a huge bill for whats obviously a surface burn and not a big deal (CPS made regular visits to our house over stuff like this).

Anyway, my brother ended up with some pretty ugly scars which I blame on the care he received. I lost the use of my left hand for several months and remember sporting the Micheal Jackson look wearing a white breathable cotton glove to protect the burn while it healed which took forever and it took several years for full sensation to come back. In the end though all I got was my hands had 2 different shades of color with one far paler then the other. No noticeable scaring and the only evidence of the burn is the color difference between the two. Its been 20 some years and the color is pretty equal now and if you look closely the left hand appears to be a bit more aged then the right which could come off as very minor scaring.

I've had several 2nd and 3rd degree burns since but nothing bigger then about 2" and always treated at home. Again no scaring (but yet simple cuts leave ugly scars) using home care.

Am I the odd man out that treats burns at home? Its just never occurred to me to go to the ER for what seems like a minor thing. Yes I know, my family was umm different. Had concussions but never went to the ER, cuts that needed stitches earned you alcohol, steri strips and gauze to close yourself, all kinds of injuries that usually just earned you an ice pack and razzing for what ever stupid thing you did to get hurt. Heck, even an intimate encounter with lightening didn't earn a trip to the ER since I was walking and talking by the time the storm passed and the phones were restored. (I was summarily razzed about getting caught outside in the storm rather then heading into the house as soon as the thunder started, I was running like bat outta h@ll to get to the house when I got hit storm came up out of no where with no warning)

Before anyone worries, no, I have no problem taking my kids to the ER, were there several times a year in fact. I just don't go for myself unless I think its pretty severe like a broken bone or something.

I'm just surprised at the lack of info online about treating injuries online naturally and looked up burns and it all says see the Dr instead of how to treat at home and giving suggestions on when you really need to see the Dr vs its ok to treat at home and whats just scare tactics to get you into a hospital. (talking adults here, not kids)
post #2 of 12
You of course don't need to see a doctor for minor burns. Even second degree burns over small areas can be treated with basic first aid. But the reason you don't find information about the care of 3rd degree burns other than to see the doctor is because you really should see a doctor. It sounds like you recovered exceptionally well considering how bad your burns were. The fact that you didn't have pain is actually the most worrysome factor in what you discribe and the most evidence of exactly how serious of a burn you did have.

Really, 3rd degree burns can result in serious nerve damage. Severe burns can result in necrosis and gangrene at it's most severe resulting in the loss of a limb without proper care. Infection sets in very very easily in burn cases and can result in all the serious complications that a systemic infection with staph or strep can entail including loss of limbs and even death. Over large portions of the body the techniques used to stop the burning and prevent further damage can actually result in hypothermia that then needs treated. Plus shock from the burn alone is really a much more serious condition than many realize all on it's own.

It sounds like you had enough basic knowledge to protect yourself from infection. It also, honestly, sounds like you were very fortunate.

I'd go to the doctor for serious burns because, well, silvadene cream is simply awesome stuff that makes burns heal so quickly and wonderfully. I'd be at the doctor just to get that prescription. It is seriously great.

Now if I already had some silvadene on hand, knew what to look for in infections, was confident that I could keep things clean, and knew what signs to look for indicating that things weren't healing like they should. I can see no going to the doctor for smaller serious burns.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
Really, 3rd degree burns can result in serious nerve damage. Severe burns can result in necrosis and gangrene at it's most severe resulting in the loss of a limb without proper care.
Quote:
Infection sets in very very easily in burn cases and can result in all the serious complications that a systemic infection with staph or strep can entail including loss of limbs and even death.
Over large portions of the body the techniques used to stop the burning and prevent further damage can actually result in hypothermia that then needs treated. Plus shock from the burn alone is really a much more serious condition than many realize all on it's own.
To me that would be a reason to avoid the hospital, you might as well be walking into a petri dish full of germs. I know there are times you do need to go in but I've never had complications treating burns thankfully. As for shock, I've gone into shock more times then I care to admit
post #4 of 12
There is no way you can do home care for a third degree burn. First degree, absolutely, small second degree, sure. But a third degree, especially in a large area, is literally flesh that has been burned off. Sometimes the bone is even visible. These are the kinds of burns that can kill people, and need serious care so that they do not become necrotic. Even large scale second degree burns have killed people.

Also, I would say scarring with a 3rd degree burn is guaranteed. Even with skin grafts, a third degree burn is going to scar (especially a large one). Heck, many second degree burns will scar. I still have a light scar from a small second degree burn I got when I was taking some french fries out of the oven and the cookie sheet hit the counter, spun around, and hit me just above where the oven mitt stopped....that was over 15 years ago.

In short: if you get seriously burned, really anything beyond a small second degree burn, or especially if a young child gets burned, see a doctor. Right away. Home care is absolutely appropriate for some burns, but serious burns need serious care.
post #5 of 12
Third degree burns should not be treated at home. No way.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
Quote:
There is no way you can do home care for a third degree burn. First degree, absolutely, small second degree, sure. But a third degree, especially in a large area, is literally flesh that has been burned off. Sometimes the bone is even visible. These are the kinds of burns that can kill people, and need serious care so that they do not become necrotic. Even large scale second degree burns have killed people.
If you can see muscle and bone thats a no brainer go to the hospital. I just had charred skin which now that I think about it should have started coming off during the healing process exposing the muscle below it and I'm pretty sure I would have remembered that happening. I dunno what happened since they didn't take me to the ER, I just know what I saw, felt and low long it took to heal.


Quote:
Also, I would say scarring with a 3rd degree burn is guaranteed. Even with skin grafts, a third degree burn is going to scar (especially a large one). Heck, many second degree burns will scar. I still have a light scar from a small second degree burn I got when I was taking some french fries out of the oven and the cookie sheet hit the counter, spun around, and hit me just above where the oven mitt stopped....that was over 15 years ago.
Maybe I'm just a freak I have never had scaring from burns last more then a couple of years. I know its nearly unheard of to not scar from burns but I've had some pretty serious ones over the years and *knock on wood* have not had to deal with scaring. I also got a nasty 2nd degree burn on my arm (which the Dr saw when I was there for something else) when I reached in to get a cookie tray and my arm hit the rack. Took a split second and the thing hurt for a couple weeks (wanna say 2? then took about a month to heal up). Anyway that happened over this winter and its already nearly faded. You have to be looking for something on my arm to find it and I'm willing to bet by next year there will be no trace of it. I just don't scar from burns, cuts? oh yeah, those scar, big time for me, even minor ones but burns no.

Quote:
In short: if you get seriously burned, really anything beyond a small second degree burn, or especially if a young child gets burned, see a doctor. Right away. Home care is absolutely appropriate for some burns, but serious burns need serious care.
Any burns (other then mild sunburns) on kids is a no brainer, see the Dr. Maybe we just differ on whats considered a severe burn? To me that would be seeing muscle and bone showing/flesh peeling off. I didn't even know what happened to me as a kid was considered a 3rd degree burn until years and years later when I was looking up burns and saw the written description and realized how lucky I'd been. I just did a quick photo search and couldn't find any pictures of what I had as a kid. The skin was left intact and none of the pictures online look like that. Who knows and I'm not going to argue the point over something that was 20+ years ago. All I know is what my hand looked like and the fact that it took several years to get full feeling back. Doesn't really matter today what happened back then imo, I mean it effects today in a way but not enough to really dwell on it.
post #7 of 12
The way you burn yourself and the exact place affects the pain healing and scarring. I am clumsy enough that I have had third degree burns on both my hands. I had one contact burn and one liquid burn. The liquid burn was about 1000 times worse. The contact burn I just needed contact dressing for 24 hours and then light dressing for 3-4 days. This healed completely with no scar. The skin was back to normal in a couple of weeks and nerve sensation was 100% in about six months.

The liquid burn the first day contact dressing. Then the second day the dead cells started losing fluid and I had a lot of swelling. The third day they began debridement. Fortunately for me as the cells finished dying and losing fluid the would pull away from the living tissue making debridement easy and painless. After about 5 days all the dead tissue was gone and what was left was a big raw sore of living tissue. Then i had dressing changes for about another week or so until the whole wound had at least one layer of granulation. During this time I developed a systemic reaction to silvadene so I had to go old school and use a non sulphur antibacterial ointment which is much less effective. Anyway once it was not a raw wound anymore I was allowed to do my daily dressing changes at home which I did for about another 2 weeks. There is a scar but most people can't see it. It is not a keloid scar. But two years later the nerves are not back to normal.

I waited to go to the er with both burns until it was obvious that they needed medical attention - a couple of hours with each. But if it was a kid I would go for any burn bigger than a dime other than a slight sunburn.
post #8 of 12
if the skin was left in tact then it doesn't sound like a 3rd degree burn. it sounds like you burned yourself but didn't actually char the skin. electrical burns sometimes leave a 'soot' on the skin, but it isn't charring like what happens with third degree burns

I would never treat a serious burn at home.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texaspeach View Post
if the skin was left in tact then it doesn't sound like a 3rd degree burn. it sounds like you burned yourself but didn't actually char the skin. electrical burns sometimes leave a 'soot' on the skin, but it isn't charring like what happens with third degree burns

I would never treat a serious burn at home.
Black soot is what it reminded me of but it didn't wash off.
post #10 of 12
I hope you and your father are able to actually have a relationship now despite your evil step mother.

Thank goodness you were okay.

Y'know, even with burns that need a doctor, there should be more info on how to keep them from getting worse while waiting for/going for medical treatment.

Like your step brother and the butter. That might be why they had to wash his arm. If he'd done nothing, he would've been better off, if he'd used cold water, he might not have needed the doctor at all.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
I hope you and your father are able to actually have a relationship now despite your evil step mother.

Thank goodness you were okay.

Y'know, even with burns that need a doctor, there should be more info on how to keep them from getting worse while waiting for/going for medical treatment.

Like your step brother and the butter. That might be why they had to wash his arm. If he'd done nothing, he would've been better off, if he'd used cold water, he might not have needed the doctor at all.
We get along fine now, they divorced several years ago I didn't talk to him for a long time because of her and he's actually been divorced for about 2 years before I heard about it. I danced for 3 days after I found out Turns out he came home from the road early and found her high and in bed with another man. I had repeatedly told him she had been doing both since I was a little kid but he never believed me until he saw it with his own eyes. I see her once or twice a year now, don't hold the hatred for her that I used to, I mean all it was doing was hurting me eating up my energy but she now has a crap life and karma has paid her back for all the misery and lives she's destroyed over the years. As for my bright ex step brother, he's still really bright Its amazing he's still alive to be honest.. if its not his stupidity I'd think of the 5 at last count baby mama's he has would have done him in. You know, sometimes divorce can be a wonderful thing, now I hear all about the crap without actually having to witness it first hand. It's actually entertaining in a morbid way to watch from a distance. I swear that side of the family is a fraggin soap opera lol (I grew up with them as family from the time I was in diapers and there still family, I just don't consider my ex step mother part of mine but the rest of them I'll keep!)
post #12 of 12
Here is a site with more clear explanations of the different levels of severity of burns

http://www.burnexperts.com/burnseverity.htm

http://www.burnexperts.com/burndegrees.htm
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