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What is a fourth degree burn?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2020 | blog

Common types of burns include first, second and third degree burns. Many people might not know of any burns more intense than a third degree burn. However, if a fire burns you badly enough, you could suffer a fourth degree burn, which could put you at great risk of permanent disability or even death. 

Healthline explains how a fourth degree burn can ravage the human body. These types of burns tend to originate from intense heat and flame. Possible sources include hot ovens or stoves, fireplaces, chemicals, campfires, or building fires. While fourth degree burns are not common, when they do happen, they can do a lot of damage. 

Extent of damage 

A third degree burn penetrates down to the deep layers of the skin. However, a fourth degree burn can scorch through the skin entirely and damage muscles, skin tendons, and nerves. As a consequence, a fourth degree burn can expose the inside of your body. Fourth degree burn victims may notice their bones or muscles through an open burn wound. 

People with fourth degree burns actually may not experience pain. This is because fourth degree burns can damage the nerves which would ordinarily send pain signals to the human brain. A lack of pain can be dangerous. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. You might not feel pain, but that does not mean your burn has not done serious damage to your body. 

Medical emergency 

A fourth degree pain is a medical emergency. A person experiencing this level of burn can suffer a number of dangerous health risks, like organ inflammation, organ damage, shock, low body temperature, or dehydration. Infections can also cause great harm since fourth degree burns can create deep wounds that may permit bacteria into your body. 

Fortunately, many people survive fourth degree burns, though the damage inflicted by such a burn can leave disfigurement. Some people suffer a burn on a limb so bad that doctors have to amputate the burned limb. Other burn victims may need reconstructive surgery or skin grafts to restore a burned area of the body.