One of the most painful injuries that someone can ever experience is a burn injury. When a burn occurs to the skin, nerve endings are damaged causing intense feelings of pain.
Every year, millions of people in the United States are burned in one way or another. Of those, thousands die as a result of their burns and many require long-term hospitalization. Burns are a leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, exceeded in numbers only by automobile crashes and falls.
Serious burns are complex injuries. In addition to the burn injury itself, a number of other functions may be affected:
- Burn injuries can affect muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
- The respiratory system can be damaged, with possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure and respiratory arrest.
Since burns injure the skin, they impair:
- The body's normal fluid/electrolyte balance
- Body temperature
- Body thermal regulation
- Joint function
- Manual dexterity
- Physical appearance
In addition to the physical damage caused by burns, patients also may suffer emotional and psychological problems that begin at the emergency scene and could last a long time.