Burn Facts

A burn is a type of traumatic injury to your body’s tissues caused by heat, electricity, chemicals or radiation. Learn More ›

Symptoms: Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns involve the epidermis and part of the dermis layer of skin. The burn site appears red, blistered, and may be swollen and painful.

In most cases, second-degree burns are caused by the following:

  • scald injuries

  • flames

  • skin that briefly comes in contact with a hot object

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of a second-degree burn. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • blisters

  • deep redness

  • burned area may appear wet and shiny

  • skin that is painful to the touch

  • burn may be white or discolored in an irregular pattern

The symptoms of a second-degree burn may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Learn more about Second-Degree Burns

Treatment: Burns

  • Symptoms of shock

    Trouble breathing

    Second- or third-degree burns over a large area, such as an entire leg or back.

    Reassure the person.

    Treat for shock or provide rescue breathing or CPR, if needed.

    1st Degree Burn: The injury may look and feel like a mild sunburn.

    2nd Degree Burn: Outer and inner skin layers are burned and usually blister. The injury may be very painful.

    3rd Degree Burn: All skin layers are destroyed. Injury looks charred or white. May cause little or no pain.

    • Third-degree burns are present, or blistered second-degree burns cover an area larger than the victim's palm.

    • The head or neck is burned. The airway or lungs may also be damaged.

    • The burn is on the hands, feet, or groin. These areas have little fat to protect them, making damage to muscles and ligaments more likely.

    • The victim is over age 60 or under age 5. People of these ages are less able to fight infection.

    Learn more about treating Burns

Living with: What You Need to Know About Burn Prevention

Every year, more than 2.4 million burn injuries occur in the United States. Doctors treat approximately 650,000 of these injuries, and 75,000 people are hospitalized, according to the Burn Institute.

Taking the following steps can prevent most burns.

Scalding burns are the most common ones in younger children, the Burn Institute says. These burns often occur when a toddler knocks over a coffee cup, grabs the handle of a pot of boiling water on the stove, or is exposed to hot water.

These are steps you can take to prevent hot water burns:

  • Set the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees F.

  • Test bath water before putting your child in the tub.

  • Don’t carry hot liquids or foods near your child.

  • When cooking on the stovetop, use the back burners.

  • Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen if you have something cooking on the stove.

  • Don’t use tablecloths. A child can easily grab one and pull it, causing dishes to come tumbling down.

  • Use a cool-water humidifier or vaporizer instead of products that emit hot steam.

Learn more about preventing Burns

Your Guide to Burns

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