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October 19, 2017  
EDUCATION CENTER: Clinical Overview

Clinical Overview
Definition
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  • First-Degree Burn (Superficial Burn)

    Clinical Overview
    Each year, over two and a half million people suffer burn injuries. More than 35 percent of burn injuries happen to children.

    A first-degree burn occurs when the top layer of skin, called the epidermis, is burned. It is also known as a superficial burn, which refers to the depth of the injury.

    First-degree burns can result from several different kinds of burns.


    • thermal burns, or burns caused by heat or flames
    • contact burns, burns caused by a hot surface like an iron, light bulb, radiator, hot pot, serving dish, or muffler tail pipe
    • scald, a burn caused by hot water, liquids, grease or radiator fluid
    • sunburn

    First-degree burns are considered to be the least harmful of burn injuries. Typically, complete recovery happens within four to five days, and skin heals without scarring. Most first-degree burns can be treated at home. For elderly and young people, even a small first-degree burn can be serious, so it is important to consult a health care professional to insure that you are providing adequate treatment.

    Last updated: Feb-23-07

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