Knowing what to expect during recovery and what types of burn injury treatment options are available can help alleviate much of the anxiety surrounding your condition.
How quickly do burn injuries heal?
The healing rate for burn injuries is unique to each individual. A lot depends on the depth of the burns, your body’s response to treatment, and your immune system. Alexander Majidian, MD, FACS of the Grossman Burn Center explains that most burn injuries heal as follows:
- First-degree burns – a few days to a week
- Second-degree burns – two to three weeks
- Third-degree burns – much longer, sometimes up to three months or more
“The longer a burn takes to heal, the more chance of having problems down the line,” says Dr. Majidian. Your burn care is transient; it will go through three phases: emergent, acute, and rehabilitative. Learn more about what to expect during each phase of care in our free slideshow: Burn Injury Phases of Care.
What kinds of treatments might my doctor recommend?
Your physician will recommend specific treatments for you, depending upon your unique injuries and how you progress. Initially, the doctor’s main concerns are to assess and stop the burn, and to address any damage to any internal organs or structures. Surgery and sedation might be necessary to stabilize your condition and address the pain. Fourth-, third-, and deep second-degree burns will likely require skin grafting to help close the wounds and prevent infection.
Other elements of your treatment plan for a burn injury may include:
- Pressure garments
- Frequent wound dressing and proper cleaning
- Pain medications and antihistamines
- Steroids and mechanical ventilation (for injuries to lungs and airways)
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy anticonvulsant and antidepressant drugs (for nerve pain)
- Scar prevention, e.g., moisturizers, reduced sun exposure, silicone gel sheets
- Physical therapy, massage, dietary recommendations, and exercise
- Psychological care, such as counseling, behavioral therapy, anti-anxiety medicine, sleep aids, and antidepressants
Your health care plan should cover most of your medical treatments. Of course, if your injury occurred at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should be the one to the foot your bills. In addition, if your injury was the result of another party’s negligence or willful harm, or a defective product or equipment, you might want to consider looking into filing a liability claim to pay for your treatments.
How do I adjust to life after a serious burn injury?
It is completely natural to feel overwhelmed with the thought of going to back to your normal life after a serious burn injury — particularly if you have a lot of highly visible scarring or other physical limitations.
Your burn care team will be able to provide you with much of the support and answers you need regarding your injuries. They will advise you on when you should go back to work (most experts recommend sooner rather than later), and what types of community resources you might find useful, such as peer support networks. Some burn care specialists may recommend individual, family, and group counseling too.
You can also peruse our site for helpful tips and resources. And if you want to talk to a lawyer about your legal options, call our lawyer referral specialists at 844-549-8774 to connect with a lawyer in your area.