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How are burn injuries classified?

If you sustain a burn injury in Connecticut, the treatment you receive depends in part on the severity of the burn. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more layers of tissue affected by the burn, the more severe it is.

Medical professionals use three classifications to categorize the severity of a burn case and help determine appropriate treatment. You may have heard references in the past to first-, second- or third-degree burns. Here is what those classifications mean in more detail. 

Third-degree burn

A third-degree burn is the most severe classification. It penetrates all the layers of the skin and affects the fat tissue underneath. Third-degree burns may cause numbness by damaging nerve endings in the skin. Affected skin may appear leathery and be white, brown or black in color. 

Second-degree burn

A second-degree burn may show symptoms of blisters, severe pain and splotches of red and white coloring. It affects the two layers of the skin: the inner layer (dermis) and the outer layer (epidermis).

First-degree burn

A first-degree burn affects only the epidermis, or outermost layer of skin. Though it is the least severe classification of burn, it can still cause symptoms such as pain or redness.

Burns are also classified according to what caused them. Causes of burns include exposure to sources of extreme heat, chemicals or ultraviolet radiation. If you have ever had a sunburn, then you have experienced a burn from radiation exposure. Heated metal, such as a hot iron or stove, boiling water or steam and, of course, fire can all cause thermal burns. Chemicals such as acid can burn the skin as well.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only. 

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