Burns are classified as superficial (1st degree), partial thickness (2nd degree) or full thickness (3rd degree) depending on the depth of the injury. For the most part, burns can be quickly classified during the initial assessment or primary survey and a more detailed evaluation can be conducted during the focused history and physical examination.
Superficial (1st Degree)
- The skin will appear red without any blisters.
- The area will be painful and tender.
Partial Thickness (2nd Degree)
- The skin will appear red or white with blisters.
- The area will be severely painful.
Full Thickness (3rd Degree)
Epidermis, Dermis, Subcutaneous Fat, Muscles
- The skin will appear leathery and dark brown to black.
- The inner area will not be painful, but the outer edges will be.