Burns are classified as first-, second-, or third-degree, depending on how deep and severe they penetrate the skin’s surface.
First-degree (superficial) burns. First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, dry, and with no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example. Long-term tissue damage is rare and usually consists of an increase or decrease in the skin color.
Second-degree (partial thickness) 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.
Third-degree (full thickness) burns. Third-degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis and may go into the subcutaneous tissue. The burn site may appear white or charred.
Treatment for burns involves removing the source of the burn, cooling the burn, and covering it.
For full thickness burns, always treat for shock.