Home Articles What Complications May Arise from a Burn Injury?

What Complications May Arise from a Burn Injury?


At some point in their lives, some people will suffer a burn injury of some type. Most burns are minor, superficial injuries that don’t even leave a scar. However, some burns will be life-threatening emergencies that will leave lasting scars. The scars from a burn can be so serious that they are disfiguring, and they can also cause other issues as well.

Types of Burns

Treatment for a burn will depend on the location and what degree of burn you have suffered. Medical professionals divide burns into three degrees which are as follows:

  • 1st Degree – a burn that only affects the outer layer of the skin known as the epidermis
  • 2nd Degree – a burn that affects the epidermis as wells as the next layer of skin, known as the dermis
  • 3rd Degree – a burn that reaches below the skin and into the layer of fat beneath

A 1st-degree burn is usually just red and causes some pain or discomfort, while a 2nd-degree burn may swell, turn red, white, or splotchy. A 2nd-degree burn may blister, and the burn may be extremely painful. You could also have scarring from a 2nd-degree burn.

A 3rd-degree burn may look black, white, or brown, and the skin may have a leathery appearance. This is the most serious type of burn and could destroy nerve endings so that you don’t actually feel pain initially.

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Seek Medical Attention

If a burn covers your hands, feet, face, groin, or buttocks, you need to seek medical attention. You will also want to see a doctor if the burn covers a major joint or a large portion of your body. Deep burns that appear to have affected multiple layers of skin need immediate attention. If your skin appears leathery, charred, or has patches of black, brown, or white, you may have a 3rd-degree burn that needs to be seen by a doctor.

Electrical or chemical burns should also be treated quickly. If you are having difficulty breathing, you may have suffered a burn in your airway which can happen during house fires or flare-ups of bonfires, grills and other types of flammable objects. This type of burn requires immediate attention as well. If you see signs of infection, such as oozing, increased pain or swelling, you also need to see your doctor.

Common Complications from Burns

Bacterial infections are one of the most common complications that can result from a burn. These types of infections can enter your bloodstream and cause what is known as sepsis which can be fatal.

Because your skin helps your body retain fluid, a burn can cause fluid loss leading to hypovolemia or low blood volume. Your skin also helps regulate your body temperature so another complication from a burn is hypothermia. This is a low blood temperature that can be dangerous. If you inhaled hot smoke or air, you may develop breathing problems.

Scar Complications

Even if you do not develop medical complications from a burn, it is possible to develop complications from burn scarring. Your scar could develop ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of tissue. This is known as keloid and, if the keloid is large, it could limit your range of movement depending on where the scar forms.

A burn over a joint could lead to problems with either the joint or the bone. Scar tissue causes your skin to tighten and it could put pressure on your muscles or tendons, limiting movement in your joints and causing pain.

If you have suffered a burn due to someone else’s negligence, you can visit this link to ask a personal injury lawyer to review your case free of charge. Most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t have to pay unless you win. There’s no reason for you to continue suffering from burn scar complications if you weren’t at fault in your accident, and a lawyer can get you the compensation you need for treatment.