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HomeHealth & FitnessBurn victims' psychological effects - A Complete Guide

Burn victims' psychological effects - A Complete Guide


Burn victims are burn survivors and burn trauma survivors.

"Burn victim" is a person who sustained burn injuries that resulted in catastrophic physical impairment, which was sustained either by accident, or as the result of deliberate human action. The term "burn trauma survivor" can also be used to refer to burn victims charity who lived through their injuries after the burn trauma incident.

Burns can be caused by heat, electricity, radiation and chemicals, but flame (fire) is the most common source of burn injuries throughout the world. Smoke inhalation injury and carbon monoxide poisoning may also occur if fires are associated with power sources such as electrical wiring or gas appliances.

The severity of burn injuries is usually measured by burn depth, which describes the extent of burn damage to skin layers and is often classified according to:

·        partial thickness burn (first-degree burn): affects only outer layer (epidermis)

·        deep partial thickness burn (second-degree burn): extends through epidermis but not dermis

·        Full thickness burn (third degree burn): extends through epidermis, dermis and into underlying muscles, bones or internal organs.

Types of burn injuries include thermal burn, flash burn (caused by a hot liquid or steam), flame burn, chemical burn and electrical burn. These are further categorized based on severity as:  

Minor burns (first-degree) superficial burn injuries: burn involving epidermal layer of skin  

Minor burn (second-degree) burn injury: burn extending through epidermis and into dermis  

Major burn major burn injuries (third-degree): burn involving a significant portion of the body.

The severity of burn injury is often measured by total body surface area (TBSA) burn. Standard burn depth descriptions are based on the American Burn Association's (ABA) burn wound classifications – third-degree burn injury as well as minor to moderate burn injuries are included in this classification system

The prognosis for burn victims depends on the location and severity of burns. Uncontrolled, extreme burn injuries may lead to burn shock burn. Burn wound sepsis or burn death

Burns are usually treated with general wound care burn ointments and burn dressings, the most common of which is silver sulfadiazine burn bandage. Vaseline burn gauze is often used on larger burns to protect healthy skin, aid in preventing infection, promote healing, and to burn reduce pain. Burn dressings can burn be used in order to ensure that a burn wound remains covered and protected without being too constrictive.

The primary goals of treatment are to control infection, prevent contractures, and minimize scarring. With time the dead tissue (burn eschar) will slough off or burn be removed in a manner depending upon the depth and degree of the burn. Usually, this is done by physical pressure (i.e., rolling with gauze or a physician's fingers), but if necessary it can be accomplished through surgery.

A burn wound requires frequent dressing changes to remove necrotic burn eschar and to cleanse the wound. The process of removing the eschar is physically demanding for both patient and caregiver, as it not only requires time but can be excruciatingly painful.

Burn treatment involves several different types of dressings that may require frequent changing; therefore, burn treatment requires a team of caregivers. The burn center is responsible for not only the initial burn wound care, but also burn rehabilitation.

The best way to prevent burn is by avoiding exposure to flame and contact with substances that produce chemical burns. Since most burns are caused by human error or mishap and result from everyday activities like cooking and driving, burn prevention is especially important for children.

For burn treatment, burn victims are often given intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. The burn area is cooled with ice or water as soon as possible after the burn occurs; this decreases the amount of damage that occurs with first degree burns.

Mild burns may be treated at home, but burn victims with larger burns are typically treated in burn centers or a similar facility.

The burn area is cleaned and sometimes debrided (have dead skin removed). Wound dressings may be used to prevent the burn from becoming infected, and burn victims are often prescribed strong pain medications for burn relief.

When burn wounds heal, scarring is common. The burn scars may look different than other types of scars and burn victims can often incur a burn stigma because their burn wounds are visible to others.

Burn victims typically experience psychological distress, for instance from fear, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress. Because burn injuries are painful to look at, burn victims may become socially isolated.

In burn victims, burn trauma may be experienced as shocking physical pain, burn shock (shock-like state), and burn suffering. The burn injury experience can also include phantoms (painful memories) of the burning event. Burn trauma is often triggered by events such as seeing fire or experiencing a fear response to flames.


In this article, we discussed the difference between a "burn victim" and a "burn trauma survivor." A burn victim is someone who has sustained severe burns which caused catastrophic physical impairment. They are also known as burn survivors because they survived the incident that led to their injuries. The term “burn trauma survivor” can be used for those who lived through their injuries after suffering from an incidence of burn trauma either on accident or by deliberate human action. As you read through these articles about different types of traumatic events like car accidents, shootings, sexual assault and more; it's important to remember that while each individual will have varying levels of injury depending on what type of event occurred in their life- all people experience some level of psychological.

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