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How severe is my burn injury?

A burn injury requires immediate attention because it can become serious if you do not treat it correctly.

The Mayo Clinic explains there are three degrees assigned to burn injuries that reflect the severity. Knowing which degree burn you have will help you to get the proper treatment.

First degree

A first-degree burn is the lowest level of burn. Generally, you will consider this minor, and it only affects the top layer of your skin. It can be painful and red.

Second degree

A second-degree burn goes down to the second layer of skin. It usually will have blisters and severe pain. Your skin may swell and look blotchy. This type of burn can lead to scars.

Third degree

The most severe burn is a third-degree burn. It will go down into the fat layer. Your skin may be completely burnt and appear charred. It dries out the skin as well, making it tough and leathery. A third-degree burn can lead to numbness from nerve damage and intense scarring.

Other important points

First-degree burns may not require medical treatment as long as they heal quickly with no swelling or complications. However, you should always see a doctor about second- or third-degree burns as the risk of infection is high.

You also want to seek medical help regardless of the degree of the burn if it is located on your hands, groin, feet or face. Also, a burn in a joint or any burn that impacts your body temperature requires attention.

You should keep an eye on a burn until it completely heals. Watch for signs of infection, such as swelling and discharge.