How to assess the severity of burns

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When it comes to burns, there are several factors that are used in order to determine if a particular burn is severe enough to require immediate medical attention. Always remember that severe burns always require timely emergency assistance. Burns that cover more than 10 percent of the surface area of the body are considered critical. Determining the total burned surface area would require using the Rule of Nines. Just include only the second degree burns since first degree burns do not require special treatment.

Generally, the severity of a burn is the measurement of the depth of burning as well as the size of the burn. Measuring the size of a burn can be difficulty since each individual is different in size, weight and shape. When taking into consideration the differences in the shape and size, the surface area damaged is computed as a measurement of the entire body area. Understandably, we can determine how much skin it requires to shield certain parts of the body.

Causes of burns

There are various causes of burns. It includes exposure to fire, radiation, chemicals, and UV rays of the sun, hot liquids and electricity. Superficial burns do not require medical care since they heal on their own. On the other hand, severe burns require special treatment to prevent further damage.

What is the Rule of Nines?

In order to determine the percentage of the burned surface area, the body is divided into several sections.

  • Head
  • Left arm
  • Right arm
  • Trunk
  • Abdomen
  • Lower back
  • Upper back
  • Left thigh
  • Right thigh
  • Left leg
  • Right leg

Take note that these sectors sums up about 9 percent of the skin in the body to cover it. Once summed all together, the sectors sum up to 99 percent. The remaining percent is the genital area.

How the Rule of Nines works?

Assessment of burns
Hypothermia is one of the complications of critical burns.

When applying the Rule of Nines, you have to add up all the areas of the body that is deeply burned in which blisters can develop. If the right arm and left arm are burned, it sums up to 18 percent. In case only half of a particular body part is affected such as half of the chest, it is considered as 4.5 percent.

Always remember that the Rule of Nines is intended to be used in the field in order to determine quickly if the victim requires special emergency care. Once the individual is taken to the hospital, advanced methods are used to decide on the precise surface area that is burned. Take note that the total surface area burned is not the only factor used in order to determine if the burn is serious or not.

Management of critical burns

The treatment for burns is the same even if they are critical. The complications of critical burns usually include hypothermia, infection and dehydration. If you encounter an individual who is severely burned, immediately call for emergency assistance.

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