Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Quinn. Quinn Wonders, “What are 3rd degree burns” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Quinn!

Picture it: you’re in the kitchen, helping a family member cook. What’s for dinner? Pizza! The heavenly scent fills the air. The timer goes off and you open the oven door in anticipation. You can almost taste the pizza when—OUCH!—you feel a sudden, searing pain on your arm.

What happened? Your arm accidentally touched the hot inside of the oven door. Luckily, your quick reflexes mean not much damage was done. After a quick inspection, your family member says you have a first-degree burn. They tell you to hold your burned arm under cool water. That’s when you start to WONDER—what are the different degrees of burns, anyway?

Humans have suffered burn injuries since the beginning of time—or, at least, since the beginning of fire. But of course, some burns are much worse than others. First-degree burns are minor injuries. They only affect the outer layer of skin. 

First-degree burns can be painful and may cause redness and swelling, but can usually be treated at home. Run cool water over the burn for a few minutes. Then, hold a cold compress on the area. Apply some aloe or burn cream, and the injury will heal in a few days.

However, some burns are more serious. For instance, second-degree burns affect both the top layer of skin and part of the layer below it. These injuries can cause blistering. The burned skin may also become swollen. Second-degree burns are usually quite painful.

You may have also heard of third-degree burns. These injuries affect all layers of skin. They may cause the skin to look charred. It can also look very white, brown, or leathery. Very serious burns may also harm underlying tissue. When this happens, some experts classify the burn further. Fourth-degree burns affect underlying fat, fifth-degree harm muscle, and sixth-degree reach the bone.

While first-degree burns are okay to treat at home, it’s important to seek help for more serious burns. You should also see a doctor for any burn that occurs on sensitive areas of skin. Additionally, get medical attention for burns caused by open flames, electricity, or chemicals. Doctors can help make sure burns don’t become infected. They can also help reduce the chance of serious scarring. 

Even minor burns can hurt badly. How can you prevent this type of injury? Be very careful not to touch hot cooking surfaces, like ovens and stoves. You should also be very cautious around boiling water. It’s also important to keep your distance from fires. Never go near a campfire or bonfire without an adult. 

Burn injuries are common during home fires. Talk to an adult family member about how you can help protect your home from a fire. Does your family have a fire extinguisher? How about smoke detectors? Buying curtains, bedding, and clothing made of fire retardant materials can also help.

Millions of people around the world experience burn injuries each year. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce your risk of being burned. Take some time today to learn more about preventing burns—it just may help save your own skin!

Standards: NHES.A.1, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is about an American hero!