seriousness of the burn and plays the greatest role in
approach than small areas. To estimate the amount of
the victim's chances of survival.
skin area affected, the extent of burned surface, the
"Rule of Nines" (fig. 1-17) is used. These figures aid
burns may also be classified as first, second,
in determining the correct treatment for the burned
or third degree, based on the depth of skin damage
(fig. 1-16). First-degree burns are mildest. Symptoms
are reddening of the skin and mild pain. Second-
As a guideline, consider that burns exceeding 15
degree burns are more serious. Symptoms include
percent of the body surface will cause shock; burns
blistering of the skin, severe pain, some dehydration,
exceeding 20 percent of the body surface endanger
and possible shock. Third-degree burns are worst of
life; and burns covering more than 30 percent of the
all. The skin is destroyed and possibly the muscle
body surface are usually fatal if adequate medical
tissue and bone in severe cases. The skin may be
treatment is not received.
charred or it may be white or lifeless. This is the most
serious type of burn, as it produces a deeper state of
Minor burns, such as first-degree burns over less
shock and will cause more permanent damage. It is
than 20 percent of the body area and small second-
usually not as painful as a second-degree burn
degree burns, do not usually require immediate
because the sensory nerve endings have been
medical attention unless they involve the facial area.
THERMAL BURNS.-- When emergency
treatment of the more serious thermal burns is
Emergency Treatment of Burns
required, first check the victim for respiratory distress.
burns around the face or exposure to hot gases or
The degree of the burn, as well as the skin area
smoke may cause the airway to swell shut. If facial
involved, determines the procedures used in the
treatment of burns. Large skin areas require a different
burns are present, place the victim in a sitting position
Figure 1-16.-First-, second-, and third-degree burns.