You can suffer a burn from an ordinary household product, such as bleach, or experience the phenomenon of an arc flash and live to tell about it. From childhood on, we sustain burns of one kind or another that range in severity from a mere patch that requires a burn ointment to a life-changing injury that results in prolonged medical care. Learn about the four types of burn injuries as well as their causes.
Chemical burns can happen at work, at school, home and anywhere chemical materials are handled. You may think of laboratory experiments or an industrial accident in connection with burns of this kind. However, common household items, such as bleach, ammonia, car battery acid, even teeth whitening products, can be the cause. Chemical burns can be prevented by using precautions. First, use chemicals in an area that is well-ventilated, and when finished, store them in their original containers with warning labels attached. Keep chemicals away from food and drink, and to be doubly safe, wear protective gloves and clothing when handling them. If you suffer a chemical burn, there will likely be pain and perhaps numbness in the affected area along with redness or irritation. If you are burned by acid, your skin may become black, and if chemicals come in contact with your eyes, you might experience changes in your vision or even loss of vision.
You could receive an electrical burn from contact with household current or high-voltage wires. Being struck by lightning also falls into this category. The rule here is that if you have sustained an electrical burn, you should be seen by a physician. An injury of this sort can cause damage internally, possibly to the tissues located in your arms and legs, and the results could be worse than you would expect.
An arc flash occurs when an electric current leaves its intended path and makes a detour through the air either to the ground or from one conductor to another. This is usually a violent event, and anyone in close proximity to the arc flash as it happens could die or at least be seriously injured. The event itself can be set off by many things: dust, condensation, material failure, corrosion or faulty installation, among others.
Heat burns are also common around the house. You could be scalded by hot coffee, for example, or by steam. There are several degrees of heat burns. First-degree burns affect the first layer of skin. Second-degree burns injure the first and second layers of skin. They can also go deeper into skin layers. Third-degree burns injure all skin layers while fourth-degree burns injure muscle ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, nerves and bones.
Legal help is available if the burn injury you suffered was the result of carelessness by another person. Extensive treatment is often required for severe burns, and if you are having difficulty getting the medical attention you need, you may wish to consult an experienced attorney.