Any burn source can cause second-degree burns:

  • Sunburn
  • Flames
  • Contact with hot objects
  • Scalds
  • Chemicals
  • Electricity

The appearance of second-degree burns is similar to first-degree burns in some cases, but second-degree burns may blister and have more serious complications. They may even scar.

Second-degree Sunburns

People more susceptible to sunburns (those with fair skin, freckles, blue eyes, and red or blonde hair) may be more likely to suffer serious second-degree burns. Longer exposure to the sun’s UV rays without adequate protection also increases risks of these more serious burns.

How to avoid a second-degree sunburn:

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure, regardless of your skin type, age, or hair color.
  • If you are going to be in the sun for a long time, use a good sunscreen and reapply often.
  • Block direct sun exposure with sun umbrellas and clothing.

Other Second-degree Thermal Burns

Contact with Hot Objects

Brief contact with a hot object (flash burns) are common causes of first-degree burns. Prolonged contact with hot objects may increase the risk of second-degree burns. Touching objects of very high temperatures can also increase risk or a more serious burn.

Prevention tips:

  • Exercise caution when around hot objects, such as a stove, space heater, fire pit, or grill.
  • Use proper safety equipment, such as oven mitts when handling hot items.
  • Exercise an abundance of caution around items that can explode.

Flame Burns

Common scenarios where people may be exposed to flames include when around fireplaces and fire pits, playing with fire or matches (firesetting), and residential house fires.

Prevention tips:

  • Keep fire extinguishers handy when using a device that involves fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Have a fire escape safety plan for your home and at work.


Second-degree scalds are may be the result of hot coffee, hot water or soup, and hot grease spills that may cause prolonged contact with the skin. Many scald burns happen in the kitchen and bathroom.

Prevention tips:

  • Avoid child scalds by never putting a child in the a bath without checking the water temperature.
  • Use caution when handling hot liquids and beverages.
  • Be especially careful when cooking with hot grease, as it can splatter and cause severe burns.

Second-degree Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are the result of inhalation of or skin exposure to strong acids and bases. Even strong cleaning chemicals can cause serious second-degree burns. Workplace exposure to strong chemicals may also cause second-degree burns.

Prevention tips:

  • Read caution labels on cleaning and other chemicals.
  • Always wear the proper safety and breathing equipment when working with chemicals at work or at home.

Second-degree Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are often severe, and can be fatal. A lot of patients in intensive care burn units are those who suffered electrical burns.

An electrical current can generate heat up to 5,000 degrees Celsius. These burns can be extensive, and some injuries are so severe that they cause third– or fourth-degree burns. Electrical burns always require immediate medical attention.

Prevention tips:

  • Never go near downed power lines.
  • Never mix water and electricity.
  • Do not use an electric appliance or gadget when standing in water or when in the bathtub.
  • Use proper covers for electrical outlets to protect children from injury.
  • Call a licensed electrician to perform household electrical work.

How can I get help for my second-degree burn?

If you suffer a second-degree burn and you believe another party is to blame – a product manufacturer, a property owner, etc. – or if it occurred at work, you may have a legal claim. Call 844-549-8774 to speak with our lawyer referral specialists for help finding a lawyer.