One of the most dangerous complications of a burn that many people are not aware of is the risk of a burn injury infection. Burn wounds, particularly third-degree and fourth-degree burns, are susceptible to bacterial infections. Many of these infections are painful and potentially life threatening.
Of course, the best way to handle bacterial infections is to take measures to prevent them from occurring. However, sometimes, even with the best care and treatment, patients still contract infections.
Why are burn patients so susceptible to infections?
The skin performs many important functions, including fluid homeostasis, heat regulation, immunologic tasks, and neurosensory functions. It also acts a physical barrier and protects the body from infections.
Burn patients are so susceptible to infections because they have open wounds on their body, which are essentially inviting entry points for bacteria.
When the skin sustains damage from burns, pathogens like bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms can enter the body. The skin damage can also prevent T cells and other agents from accessing the wound, further increasing the risk. The pathogens set in and cause an infection.
What are the risk factors for burn injury infections?
Given that wounds are the entry point for pathogens, the more severe the burn and larger the size of the wounds, the greater the risk of infection. Other things that can increase the risk of infection include using cotton balls to clean or dress wounds and not changing the dressing frequently enough.
If the victim is an infant or child, a senior, or otherwise has a compromised immune system, the risk of infection will be higher.
What types of infections are common amongst burn injury patients?
Below are some of the types of infections that burn injury patients can develop, all of which can cause pain and other symptoms.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus complex
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Klebsiella species
- Fungal infections such as Candida and Aspergillus
- Viral infections such as herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus
- Sepsis and toxic shock syndrome
Is there anything else I should know about burn injury infections?
Preventing infection after a burn injury
To reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality, aggressive infection control is an absolute must for burn patients. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics as a preventative measure. The patient’s environment should be sterile and all who enter it should practice proper hygiene. Proper cleaning and debridement is also important.
Make sure to address any concerns you have or symptoms of infection you notice with your doctor. Also discuss ways to manage your pain and continued care after leaving the hospital.
Legal action after a burn injury and related infection
You should also be aware that if another party’s negligence caused your burn injury, or if hospital errors or negligence in your care caused your infection, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The lawyer referral specialists at Burn Victims Resource can connect you with a lawyer who can represent you and help you pursue compensation for your burn-related damages. Call 844-549-8774.