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Burns Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Burn symptoms and signs vary depending on the type of burn.

Superficial Burn

Symptoms include:

  • Burned area turns red and is painful
  • The area blanches (turns white) when you press on it
  • The area may swell, but it is dry and there is no blistering

Superficial Partial-Thickness Burn

Symptoms include:

  • Blisters
  • The area is moist, red, and weeping
  • The area blanches (turns white) when you press on it
  • Painful to air and temperature

Deep Partial-Thickness Burn

Symptoms include:

  • Blisters, usually loose and easily unroofed
  • The area can be wet or waxy dry
  • The skin color can vary from patchy, to cheesy white, to red
  • The area does not blanch (turn white) with pressure
  • May or may not be painful, can perceive pressure

Full-Thickness Burn

Symptoms include:

  • Skin can appear waxy white, leathery gray, or charred and blackened
  • May not be painful if nerves have been damaged, the only sensation may be to deep pressure

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask how the burn occurred and will examine the burned area.

Treatment will depend on the cause of the burn, how deep the burn is, and how wide an area of the body is covered. Doctors have methods and charts to estimate the total percentage of body surface area (TBSA) affected by the injury. This estimate is age dependent; for example, the head represents a larger percentage of surface area in a baby than in an adult.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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