Symptoms and treatment of burn injuries from explosions, Pt. 1

Symptoms and treatment of burn injuries from explosions, Pt. 1

In recent months, a number of explosions at gas and chemical plants have increased attention on plant safety and the serious injuries and deaths that can result from accidents. In one recent accident, eight workers were injured in an explosion at a Blue Rhino propane facility. This blog will discuss the difficulties of treating burn injuries. A second post will explain treatments for burn injuries in cases like these.

In the Blue Rhino blast, three victims were taken to a Level 1 trauma center in their state. Burn injuries in cases like these are likely to be compounded by other injuries received as a result of the explosion. Catastrophic injuries from explosions in closed spaces could include blunt force injuries, ruptured spleens, rib fractures and smoke inhalation damage, in addition to the burns, experts say.

The burns themselves are problematic because they are progressive. A second-degree burn could later develop into a third-or fourth-degree burn, said a spokesman for a California burn center known for treating high-profile cases.

A second-degree burn involves the top two layers of skin, called the dermis and the epidermis. A third-degree burn occurs when the dermis is destroyed. A fourth-degree burn means that tissue, bone or cartilage below the dermis is affected. The severity of burns in cases like these may not be apparent for 24-48 hours, doctors say.

The second and final post will discuss treatment of severe burn injuries.

Source: Orlando Sentinal, "Blue Rhino gas-blasts victims face long recovery," Marni Jameson, July 30, 2013

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