Acute Hand Burns

Acute Hand Burns are tissue damage brought on by heat, chemicals, electricity, radiation or the sun.

The hand is among the three most frequent sites of burns and burn scar contracture deformity. With appropriate and timely acute burn management, Burns deformities are largely preventable.

Causes of Burns?

  • Thermal sources, including fire, hot liquids, steam and contact with hot surfaces, are the commonest causes of acute hand burns.
  • Chemicals, such as acids or drain cleaners.
  • Radiation.
  • Electricity.
  • Sun (ultraviolet or UV light).

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Acute Hand Burn

What are the symptoms of hand burns?

Acute Hand Burns symptoms vary depending on the severity and degree of the burn.

  • Redness / Erythema.
  • Blisters.
  • Pain.
  • Swelling.
  • White or charred (black) skin.
  • Exposed vital structures.

Burns are classified by the depth of burn, which also determine the appropriate treatment modality:

  • 1st Degree: superficial burn – redness of skin without blisters
  • 2nd Degree: partial thickness burn – blisters formation
  • 3rd Degree: full thickness skin burn – skin is dry, white and leathery

How are hand burns managed or treated?

Burn treatment varies depending on the cause and severity.

  • Burn wound should be kept clean and appropriate dressing depending on the severity of the wounds.
  • Adequate pain control
  • Splintage and physiotherapy to prevent stiffness and formation of contractures

Treatments by Degree of Acute Hand Burns:

  1. First-Degree burns: wash with cool running water. Don’t apply ice. For sunburns, apply aloe vera gel. For thermal burns, apply topical antibiotic cream, cover with light dressing and Pain control medications.
  2. Second-Degree burns: Treatment for second-degree burns is similar, managed with topical antibiotic creams that contains silver (silver sulfadiazine), to kill bacteria and some specialized form of dressing. Elevating the burned hand help to reduce pain and swelling.
  3. Third-Degree burns: Third-degree burns can be life-threatening and can lead to hand deformities, they often require skin grafts or flaps.

What is the prognosis with burns?

With proper treatment, most first- and second-degree burns heal over two to three weeks. Depending on the burn severity and depth of burn, there may be some scarring, which may fade over time. People recovering from third-degree burns need physical and occupational therapy to maintain joint mobility and improve hand function.

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