When people talk about the severity of burn injuries, their focus is often on the aesthetic impact. Burns very frequently cause scars, even with surgical intervention. While it is true that visible burn injuries can affect someone’s mental health, self-esteem and income, burn injuries do not have to be on someone’s face, neck or hands to create lasting economic concerns.
A burn that you could potentially cover while out in public could still cost you a lot of money in the years that follow your injury. Why are burn injuries more expensive than other kinds of traumatic injuries?
The scar tissue is painful and restrictive
The burns themselves may result in serious scarring, and individuals may require skin grafts to properly heal. This process involves taking skin from other parts of your body to help cover and heal the injured areas. Even when successful, skin grafts often leave behind deep, thick scar tissue and additional scars at the host sites.
Burns not treated with skin grafts will likely also leave scars. That tissue may be inflexible and may respond negatively to both temperature changes and exertion. Depending on its placement and severity, that burn tissue may cause chronic pain. It could also limit your strength and range of motion when performing your job, which will ultimately force you to retire or move into a lower-paid but less demanding role.
Burns often require ongoing care
It can take much longer for someone to fully heal from extensive burns than it would to recover from a broken bone or soft tissue injuries. You can expect to spend weeks away from work if you have severe burns, and even when you return to work, regular absences may be necessary.
Those with burn injuries may need ongoing medical interventions to help them continue healing or limit the impact of their injuries on their daily life. It can be hard for the average person to estimate the financial impact of burn injuries, especially in the immediate aftermath of the traumatic event that caused the burn.
Learning more about the long-term consequences of major burn injuries can help those coping with burns or supporting someone with serious injuries.