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Second Degree Burns

We speak to A.R, a 25 year old female, about her second degree burns........

How did you get the burns?

Well I feel pretty silly really - I had a bad cold and was trying to steam myself with a steam bath, where you lean over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head. I filled a bowl with boiled water, leaned over, and then guess the towel caught the bowl. Before I knew it the bowl had tipped over and the water landed on my lap.


What did you do ?

Screamed at first! I got my trousers off, ran to the bathroom and jumped into the shower. I think I was showering cold water on myself for about 10 minutes. My husband rang an ambulance, which came pretty quickly.

Did the ambulance staff use any first aid ?

Nothing special as far as I remember. They had a look at the area and said I should get checked at hospital. We soaked a towel in cold water and I held this on my lap during the journey.

What happened at hospital?

I saw a Burns surgeon who examined me and said that it was difficult to judge my depth of burn. He said that it looked like a second degree burn. He said it was hopfully not too deep, but that the next few days would let the burn develop and show how deep it was. The surgeon cleaned the area and put some dressings on it. I think the burn size was around 3%. He arranged to see me again the next day.

Then what happened ?

I went back to see the surgeon the next day and the burn was redressed. The burn surgeon said it was looking more like a second degree burn, with areas that were not too bad and a couple of areas that seemed deeper. I was told that they would keep watching the burn, but there was a chance I might need a skin graft at some point.

So did you need a skin graft?

Luckily no. It took a fair while, about two weeks, for the burn to heal. I was seen daily at first, but then the surgeon only had to see me every few days after that.

Did you have any complications?

Not as such. It all healed fine, but I do have a couple of small scars. The surgeon said this will have been the deeper parts of the burn. It's not ideal having the scars, but rather that than an operation. I guess I'm really lucky to have not been much worse off. The burns surgeon said it was probably thanks to the cold shower being used straight after the burn.

Can you give any advice to anyone with a second degree burn?

Well for a start, I won't be trying to steam myself over a bowl again! I think the cold water was the best thing I did, so I guess this is what I'd advise people to do if they get burned.
Learn more about Second degree burns and burn treatment in our Procedure Info pages
This page is for information only, and does not replace a Specialist. Your experience may not be the same as above and the surgery, tests or other management may not be as described as above. If you are concerned about any health issues, you should contact your general practitioner or specialist for healthcare advice. Please also read our disclaimer.




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