Thermal burns are burn injuries to the skin caused after getting in contact with hot surfaces or liquids or fire. Examples of thermal burns include, spilling of boiling oil or water on any part of the body, touching any hot flame or super heated metal, electrical burns etc.
Depending on the severity of the burns caused to the skin and/or underlying tendons, muscles and bones, burns are classified into three (actually four) categories.
Types of burns
- First degree or superficial burns. In this case, the person will have very light discolouration of skin and pain. No blistering of skin would be seen. First degree burns are not medical emergency and usually don’t require any doctors attention. The injured site needs to be kept in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes and then an antibiotic ointment needs to be applied. If severe burning like pain persists, pain killers may be taken or anesthetic ointment may be applied. First degree burns usually heal in a week or maximum of 10 days.
- Second degree burns. These types of burns are little deeper than the first degree ones. They form blisters and can go into multiple layers of the skin. The skin becomes red to dark red and sore to touch. The burning like sensation would be very severe. In some, the blisters may pop oozing out liquid. Taking care of such burn injuries is more important to keep infection away and heal faster. Keeping the area in cold water for sometime, applying anesthetic creams as first aid is advised. This should be followed by a doctor’s appointment and the prescription should be followed. Some second degree burns heal fairly quickly whereas some take several weeks to months to heal. This depends on the area (size) of the body that’s affected. If the injury is on the face, neck, buttocks, groin etc (sensitive areas), one must see a good dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Third degree burns are deeper, severe and must be treated as medical emergency. Third degree burns damage all layers of skin and the skin turns white, greasy or leathery in appearance. As a result, the tiny blood vessels also get damaged. Pain is usually unbearable or the person may not feel any pain at all if the nerves in the area are damaged. Third degree burns are to be treated by a doctor, especially when the affected area is large and includes sensitive parts of the body.
Symptoms of third degree burns include:
- Skin turning waxy (kind of greasy) and white in colour
- Dark brown coloured charring
- Flaky and raised burnt skin etc
Treatment of third degree burns usually involves surgery that is done to remove the damaged skin, skin grafting and clean up of wounds. It is best advised that treating of third degree burns be done at doctor’s office however small the injured site might be.
Beyond these three categories of burn injuries, some may get even severe burns called ‘Fourth degree burns’ that usually is a critical case. In people with fourth degree burns, the skin, the tendons under it and the bones also might get charred. When large part of the body receives fourth degree burns, the condition may be life threatening.
How HBOT helps in treating (thermal) burns?
HBOT helps in quick healing of the body which is very important in severe cases of thermal burns or normal burns. After receiving the burns, the affected site loses blood vessels and the skin flakes away in a day or two leaving open wounds that are highly susceptible for infections. Lack of blood vessels means lower supply of blood and oxygen. This creates a positive environment for microbes to survive and spread. Secondly, in severe cases of burns, a lot of fluids need to be given to the patient as the body loses fluids through the burnt sites. Thirdly, supply of oxygen through HBOT causes vasoconstriction that reduces the accumulation of fluids in the affected site that in turn helps in healing the injuries faster.
HBOT should be used as an adjunctive procedure in treating thermal or any kind of burns along with conventional treatment involving antibiotics, pain killers etc. HBOT helps in supplying oxygen to the affected sites and also helps in the growth of new blood vessels. New blood vessels supply oxygen rich blood to the injured site and the immune system becomes active in that region and fights against the infection. There are several studies that have shown the HBO Therapy helps in faster healing of burns when compared to conventional treatment methods.
Cost of HBOT Sessions in Chennai
Usually, HBOT sessions are sold as a package to lower the cost of each session. On an average, a HBOT session would cost around Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 12,000 in Chennai. You need to check with the insurance department of the hospital or your health insurance provider to know if the cost of HBOT sessions is covered. As long as HBOT is done as a part of other treatment that is covered by insurance, HBOT cost should also be covered. It is best to find out and confirm with your insurance provider before you undergo the therapy.