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How do I know if my second-degree burn is serious?

Partial thickness burns (formerly known as second-degree burns) are considered serious if they occur on the face, hands, feet or genitalia, or if they affect a large part of the body surface. These burns typically require medical attention.

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Unlike first-degree burns, which are generally minor, and third-degree burns, which are always serious, second-degree burns are a bit of a grey area. Some cases may be minor enough to be treated at home, but others can be more severe and require a doctor's care. Second-degree burns are named because they reach the second layer of skin, underneath the epidermis. In more minor cases, they may not extend much into the second layer and may not cause much damage. In serious cases, however, they may be deeper, more painful, and cause more damage. Regardless of what level your second-degree burn is at, you may want to see a doctor for treatment and care.

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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.