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Everything you need to know about third-degree burns

Burns are never fun to experience, no matter how mild. According to WebMD, most burns are minor and occur at work or home. Home treatment is generally sufficient for minor burns of this nature. However, there are more severe burn injuries that can result in serious complications. These are called third-degree burns.

How do more serious burns occur, and what is the outlook for them? Read below for an outline of how significant burns occur and what treatment looks like.

Causes and symptoms

A third-degree burn occurs when every layer of the skin plus underlying tissue are damaged. Causes include:

  • Hot liquids
  • Fire
  • Electrical sources
  • Harmful chemicals
  • Extended contact with a hot object

Depending on the reason for the burn, symptoms may cause the skin to become waxy, leathery and blistered. There may or may not be any pain from the burn depending on the extent of nerve damage. If you sustain a third-degree burn, get emergency medical attention as soon as possible.


Third-degree burns can come with various complications, including blood loss, infections and shock. Tetanus, a bacterial infection, may also occur. Third-degree burns can result in a change in pigment and problems with bones, deep skin tissues and organs. In some circumstances, these complications can lead to death.

Treatment and outlook

Patients with third-degree burns may need:

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Assisted care

Mental health treatment and support may also be necessary. Coping with the effects of a severe burn can be difficult, so counseling or support groups may help. Immediate medical treatment and ongoing emotional support are crucial for the best outlook.

Suffering from a third-degree burn can have far-reaching consequences. A burn can cause you to have costly medical treatments, lost time from work and ongoing emotional distress. Depending on the cause, you may be able to get compensation for these consequences through a personal injury lawsuit.

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