paramedic treating burn injury victim
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Burns can be caused by fire, scalding hot liquids, electrical elements, hazardous chemicals, and more. A burn victim may have sustained this kind of injury in a motor vehicle accident or work-related incident. Burns may happen due to a defective product such as a space heater.  While the circumstances may vary, the result is the same. Burns are painful injuries and many underestimate the devastating long-term effects that a serious burn may inflict on the injury victim.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Severe Burn Injuries?

Many are more familiar with the immediate symptoms of a serious burn. A serious burn may involve:

  • Blistering of the skin
  • Pain
  • Swelling and redness of the skin
  • Decrease in alertness
  • Peeling skin
  • Pale skin, clammy skin, weakness, and other symptoms of shock

There may also be airway burn, which can be dangerous and particularly difficult to diagnose, even by medical professionals. Symptoms of airway burn can include:

  • Burns surrounding the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Dark mucus
  • Voice change

As you can see, the immediate symptoms of a burn injury can be debilitating. The long-term effects of a burn, however, can be particularly devastating. A serious burn impacts several layers of skin and can even damage the underlying tissue. Its effects can linger for months to years to the entirety of the burn victim’s life. Studies have shown that burn injuries are associated with a variety of secondary pathologies. Burn victims are more likely to suffer from cancer and a number of disorders, including:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Because of the frequency in which burn victims suffer secondary medical problems, researchers believe that the disruption to the body caused by a severe burn is linked to the other medical issues that subsequently develop. Thus, severe burns can lead to other devastating health consequences such as cancer, diabetes, and more. This is a large part of why professionals in the medical community want to see burn injuries treated as chronic diseases. When it is recognized as such, it is likely to improve patient care and provide more robust support for the long-term impacts felt by those who have sustained a serious burn injury.

In addition to the increased risk of disease, burn victims are also more likely to develop complications from burn injuries including:

  • Loss of muscle mass and bone density (hypermetabolism)
  • Thick, raised scars causing muscle contraction (hypertrophic scarring)
  • PTSD and other mental health disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Increased mortality rates

Hypertrophic scars are perhaps one of the most common burn injury complications. This can have a hugely adverse impact on the burn victim’s body image. The scars themselves can also limit their functional abilities.

Other burn scar complications can include contractures. This is when a burn scar thickens and tightens to the point where the victim’s movements are constricted. Most often, this complication arises when a burn occurs at a joint area of the body. Contractures to the lower extremities can restrict walking abilities and seating abilities. Contractures to the upper extremities can restrict the victim’s ability to engage in day-to-day activities such as dressing, eating, and more.

North Dakota Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have sustained a serious burn in an accident, it is critical that you have an attorney that understands the widespread and lasting impact such an injury can have on a person’s health and well-being. The team at Pringle & Herigstad is well-versed in burn injury cases. We make sure the entire breadth of your injury is accounted for and that you are properly compensated for the full extent of your suffering. You can count on us. Contact us today.