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What is burn pain?

Burn pain is the hurt you feel after you have a burn--a tissue injury caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, or radiation. Burns are usually classified by their severity as either first-, second-, or third-degree burns. Third degree burns are the most severe, but they do not always cause the most burn pain. Third-degree burns may not be painful because the burn has killed the nerves that signal pain. In serious burn cases, the pain can be severe and last for months as a result of the various effects the burn has had on the body.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
The pain associated with burn injury may be very severe and intense. The pain will depend on the degree of burn injury. First degree burns are mild with reddening of the outer skin only. Second degree burns are associated with injury through the dermis leading to pain, edema, and blistering. Finally, third degree burns are full thickness that may extend to deeper subcutaneous tissue leading to eschar formation (white or black charred skin). Nerve injury from a third degree burn may lead to permanent numbnesss. The pain with severe burns may be from both the injury and the continued dressing changes performed. In Burn units, severe burn pain is often treated with intravenous sedation and pain medications including morphine, dilaudid, fentanyl, and ativan (relaxant). For minor burn pain control, run cool water over the burned skin, avoid ice, soak area for 5 minutes, cover with sterile dressing, use acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Continue Learning about Burn Pain Treatment

Is there a cure for burn pain?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Burn pains can be managed through pain medication. In many cases, however, burn pain may simply less...
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Is burn pain serious?
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Burn pain may be serious. Full thickness burns may present with pain. Full thickness eschar may pres...
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How common is burn pain?
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Burn pain is very common. Over 2 million Americans are treated every year for burns. That number doe...
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What are the treatment options for burn pain?
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Burn pain can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the severity. Minor burn pain may only n...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.