Surviving Injury

limited or no physical pain. Third degree burns may require skin grafts and may or may not allow someone to have full function restored. Fourth degree burns may require amputation, and function in the area is typically lost or very limited. The severity of a burn injury is not only

determined by burn classifications, but also by the victim/survivor’s age, previous health status, size of the injuries, how much of the injuries can be attributed to third degree burns, and other medical complications related to the fire. It is often difficult to accurately assess a burn at first glance as the injury may change over the next several days.

Severity of a burn can be affected by several factors.

As skin protects the body from contamination there is serious risk of infection. This risk remains until the burns heal or are completely grafted. Because a burn victim/survivor’s health is compromised, there is legitimate and ongoing concern, even when it seems their health status is improving. Along with infection, doctors and other medical personnel carefully monitor and treat pain. Burns can be very painful as well as the regimens required to treat them. Pain medications, anti-anxiety medications, and relaxation techniques are often utilized to address pain issues. Some medications interfere with organ functions so doctors dose accordingly. Skin grafting is the next crucial step in treatment for some second degree burns and all third and fourth degree burns. First,

the injured tissue is surgically removed if the destroyed skin does not separate naturally. Then a section of healthy, unburned skin (referred to as the donor area) is removed and attached to the area destroyed by the burn (referred to as the recipient area). Before this can be done, the area must be prepared to receive the donor skin.

Skin grafting is a common treatment for severe burns.

At times skin donated from other people, called homograft, allograft, or cadaver skin is used. Skin that is donated from other sources is used when donor skin is scarce. Depending on the extent of the injury, some victims and survivors require multiple surgeries.


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