Treatment of Third-degree Burns

A third-degree burn is referred to as a full thickness burn. This type of burn destroys the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and the entire layer beneath (the dermis).

In most cases, full thickness, third-degree burns are caused by the following:

  • A scalding liquid
  • Skin that comes in contact with a hot object for an extended period of time
  • Flames from a fire
  • An electrical source
  • A chemical source

Symptoms may include:

  • Dry and leathery skin
  • Black, white, brown, or yellow skin
  • Swelling
  • Lack of pain because nerve endings have been destroyed

Treatment for full thickness, third-degree burns will depend on the severity of the burn. Burn severity is determined by the amount of body surface area that has been affected. The burn severity will be determined by your child’s doctor. Treatment for third-degree burns may include the following:

  • Early cleaning and debriding (removing dead skin and tissue from the burned area). This procedure can be done in a special bathtub in the hospital or as a surgical procedure.
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids containing electrolytes
  • Intravenous (IV) or oral antibiotics if your child develops an infection
  • Antibiotic ointments or creams
  • A warm, humid environment for the burn
  • Nutritional supplements and a high-protein diet
  • Pain medications
  • Skin grafting (may be required to achieve closure of the wounded area)
  • Functional and cosmetic reconstruction
  • Tetanus shot
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