How serious is a 1st degree burn?

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jewish_scientist
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How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:25 am UTC

Let's say I accidentally put my hand on a hot stove, so I have 1st degree burns all over my palm and fingers. Then, for some reason, I decide to not do anything about it. I know that my hand would hurt like... I do not even know how I would describe that much pain. However, would there be any consequences besides that? I mean, treatment for a 1st degree burn is a lot of cold water; its not exactly the most life threatening situation.
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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby BlackSails » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:30 am UTC

Use cool water, not cold

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Deva » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:37 am UTC

Doubts much.
Source wrote:First degree:
- Includes only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis
- Skin is usually red and very painful
- Equivalent to superficial sunburn without blisters
- Dry in appearance
- Healing occurs in 3-5 days, injured epithelium peels away from the healthy skin
- Hospitalization is for pain control and maybe fluid imbalance

Compares it to sunburns. May be more familiar with that.
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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Xenomortis » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:40 am UTC

The OP describes second degree - a hot stove would cause blistering and quite a bit of pain.
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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby stianhat » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:35 pm UTC

Well...

Most first degree type burns are really second degree burns that got the proper treatment. If you get a droplet of hot fat on your skin while frying something and just leave it like that you'll get a burn blister and it is now by definition a 2nd degree burn. If you put it under reasonably cold water for a little while, you will just have some redness and a fond memory of pain.

Unless it is a truly minor burn, most first degree burns becomes 2nd degree by lack of / lax treatment, so it is hard to answer what you are asking. Perhaps by taking the extreme light case: You can get a first degree by spending 15 minutes too much in sunlight. Not "treating" it will not be a problem. For all other cases, you are in fact treating a 2nd degree burn, and by treating it, you are "degrading" it.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

How does the water cooling work anyway? It's one of those things that make sense at first, but less so if you think about them. After all, the heat that caused the burn is quickly gone, but you have to keep the wound cold for minutes afterwards to have much effect on the healing.

All I can think of is that the cold inhibits certain chemical reactions. So the burn damages enzymes, those enzymes start bad unplanned reactions, and keeping the spot cold for a while inhibits those reactions until the balance in the cells is more restored. But that's a wild guess.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:55 pm UTC

How does "breaking a fever" work? They could both be suppressing histamine response...?
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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:52 pm UTC

When you touch something very hot, it rapidly heats up several layers of skin. When you remove your skin from the heat source, the skin starts cooling back down, but in room temperature air that takes quite a while. It happens much faster in running water, especially cold water. It really is as simple as that.

I'm not sure why it would take a full 15 minutes for the water to cool tissue back down to body temperature, but I'm guessing that's just for deep burns.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby elasto » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:06 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:When you touch something very hot, it rapidly heats up several layers of skin. When you remove your skin from the heat source, the skin starts cooling back down, but in room temperature air that takes quite a while. It happens much faster in running water, especially cold water. It really is as simple as that.

I'm not sure why it would take a full 15 minutes for the water to cool tissue back down to body temperature, but I'm guessing that's just for deep burns.

That seems implausible to me. Don't the deeper layers of skin have constant blood flow? Wouldn't they rapidly equalise the temperature?

If I had to guess, I'd say it was to do with dampening down the inflammation response? A bit like how athletes take ice baths after severe exertions?

And I presume cold water would constrict blood vessels and unhelpfully cut off blood flow whereas cool water is a happy medium?

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Angua » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

There's evidence for water helping a burn up to 30 mins after the insult takes place.

I don't think we quite know why.
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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby speising » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:01 pm UTC

Wouldn't homeopathic water work even better? Can you potentate water?

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:32 pm UTC

speising wrote:Wouldn't homeopathic water work even better? Can you potentate water?

Only if the water previously contained water.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby ijuin » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:32 pm UTC

LOL!

For anything that has only minor blistering or less, just bandage it and keep it clean until it heals, and it will be fine. Antibiotic, antiseptic, or anaglesic creams may be used if you wish.

A quick guide:

1st degree burn: Damages only the epidermal layers. Pain and redness but little to no blistering.

2nd degree burn: Damages the dermal layers as well as the epidermis. Blistering and peeling, potentially quite painful.

3rd degree burn: Kills cells all the way to the deepest layers of the skin. May require a graft to avert heavy scarring. Less painful than one would expect due to the pain nerves being destroyed completely. Basically, a section of your skin has been completely killed--beware of gangrene/necrosis.

4th degree burn: Tissues and organs beneath the skin have also been severely damaged, sometimes all the way down to the bones.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:48 am UTC

It does also depend on the area burned. Even a first degree burn can be life-threatening if it occurs over the entire surface area. Most burns affect only a small area of skin, and if it's just your hand (more likely just part of one finger) touching a hot stove, it will never be a major concern (though it might be very painful).

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby screen317 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:40 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:How does "breaking a fever" work? They could both be suppressing histamine response...?

It typically doesn't. Notice all the top results for 'breaking a fever' on google are all garbage sites. You're mostly getting histamine release in type II immune responses so it's not really relevant here.

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Re: How serious is a 1st degree burn?

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:56 pm UTC

Also, even relatively minor burns get be bad if they wrap around an appendage because the burnt skin is way tighter than it should be and can cut off blood flow.
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