What is a third degree burn? A third degree burn is an injury that burns through all the layers of the skin, affecting the flesh and tissue below. Third degree burns are incredibly serious. You can get a third degree burn from boiling water, a terrible sunburn, a fire, a cigarette, an iron or a stove top burner. If you ever get a third degree burn, you will experience significant, extremely painful consequences.
If you receive a third degree burn, it might be so severe that your body doesn't have the means to register the damage to your brain. Burns that penetrate to the flesh underneath your skin without causing pain are the most dangerous; this means the heat source has burned you so badly that your nerves have been damaged, numbing you to the pain.
If you find a victim of a third degree burn, the sight may terrify. That said, you will need to help the person immediately, without delay. If the person is on fire, you need to help them put out the fire by smothering it. Call 911 before you do anything else. Then help the person remain calm as you remove any burning or hot clothing that is not stuck to the burned skin and flesh. Apply clean, moist bandages or sheets to the burned person's flesh, then cover the person with a light blanket or sheet, making sure you don't touch the burned, vulnerable skin and flesh with any sort of blanket that might stick to the burned area. Watch the person for signs of shock or cardiac arrest as you wait for help to arrive.
If you have a small third degree burn from something like a cigarette, iron or leaning into a stovetop burner, you can apply cold water to the burn before seeking medical attention at an urgent care center. If the burn is bigger than three inches in diameter, immediate attention is required. Don't delay; the sooner you get help, the less likely you will be to go into shock or need additional medical help. Serious burns are not to be trifled with.
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