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The Different Types of Burns & How to Treat Them With Burnshield®

There are five types of burns: Thermal, Chemical, Electrical, Friction, and Radiation. In this post, we will define each type and explain how to treat them.
The Different Types of Burns and How to Treat Them

Dentec is proud to now offer Burnshield® to our robust line of safety products and protective equipment. Burnshield® is an international go-to emergency burn care range of products that provide an immediate and effective method of treating burn injuries in the acute (emergency) phase. Burnshield® is a remarkable sterile line of burn gels and burn dressings for optimal emergency burn care. For 30 years, Burnshield® products have been an essential tool for emergency first responders and industrial and home first aid kits alike.

Burnshield Logo

Burnshield®’s focus has remained on emergency care for burns and how to treat them very quickly and effectively whether you’re a qualified trauma nurse, a trauma doctor, or you’re a mom at home.

Types of Burns

There are five types of burns namely Thermal Burns, Chemical Burns, Electrical Burns, Friction Burns and Radiation Burns. All of them are treated in the same way. Thermal and chemical are the most visible, while electricity and radiation are more internal with some external evidence. Definitions of them are as follows:

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns occur when you come in contact with something hot.

Baby Reaching for a Cup of Hot Coffee

Typically, you will suffer a thermal burn when you touch:

Flames or fire

Hot, molten liquid or steam (referred to as a scald)

Hot objects, such as cooking pans, irons, or heated appliances

Treatment for thermal burns depends on the location and severity of the burn. For moderate to severe burns, you should immediately seek medical attention.

Then take these steps:

  • Put out any fire or flames and stop contact with the hot or heated source
  • Use Burnshield® Hydrogel or a Burnshield® Dressing to cool the burn and treat it. (If not available run under sterile water for 15-20min to cool the burned area. Do not use ice, as it may further damage the skin.
  • Do not remove parts of your skin or pop blisters as everything under the skin is sterile. Seek medical attention for further treatment

Chemical Burns

You may receive a chemical burn if your skin and/or eyes come in contact with a harsh irritant, such as acid.

Some substances that can cause chemical burns include the following:

  • Chlorine
  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Battery acid
  • Strong or harsh cleaners

Take these steps if you have been burnt by a chemical:

  • Flush the chemical burn for 20 minutes with saline or cool running water. For facial burns, flush for an additional 5 – 7 min. Apply Burnshield® to the affected area. Seek medical help.
  • Medical treatment for both thermal burns and chemical burns is similar and may include:
  • Wound cleaning and removing dead skin or tissue)
  • IV fluids to regulate body temperature and speed healing)
  • Antibiotics to prevent or fight infection)
  • Skin grafting (covering the wound with healthy skin from another area of the body to close the wound)

Electrical Burns

Electrical Fire

Electrical burns happen when the body comes in contact with an electric current. Our internal systems are not resistant to electricity, so you may be injured if a strong jolt enters your body. The most common cause of an electrical burn is coming in contact with an extension cord where the insulation material has worn away. Low-voltage electrical burns can also occur in the mouth, most commonly when young children place non-insulated cords in their mouths. A burn may appear on your skin if an electric current runs through your body. These burns can be treated like thermal or chemical burns. However, if you come in contact with an electric current, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately. Electricity can affect internal tissues and muscles and have long-term, negative effects on your health.

Friction Burns

A friction burn can occur when skin repeatedly rubs against another surface or is scraped against a hard surface. Like other burns, friction burns are categorized into degrees. Many friction burns are first-degree and often heal on their own within three to six days. You can use a moisturizing cream at home to care for it. For more serious friction burns, you should seek medical care immediately.

Radiation Burns

Patient Undergoing Radiation Therapy

Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy may suffer from an injury known as a radiation burn. High-energy radiation is used to shrink or kill cancerous cells, and when it passes through the body, skin cells may be damaged. If you’re frequently receiving radiation treatments, your skin cells may not have enough time to regenerate, and sores or ulcers may develop. The term “burn” is a misnomer for these wounds because the skin has not been burned. However, the wounds can look and feel like burns. Skin must regenerate for the wounds to heal, which can take two to four weeks for mild skin reactions or a few months for more serious reactions.

Care for radiation burns includes:

  • Cleaning and moisturizing wounds
  • Avoiding sunlight
  • Wearing loose clothing or bandages over the wound)

If you have an injury from radiation, you may also have internal complications and should seek medical treatment immediately.


Types of Burn Wounds:

Superficial burn (first-degree)

This is purely a surface burn affecting the first layer of skin, where the skin appears red, is painful to the touch and may be slightly swollen but the skin remains intact. An example is sunburn.

Partial-thickness burn (second-degree)

Damage includes the dermis and epidermis. The skin is red, blistered, swollen and extremely painful, for example, a burn from hot water.

Seek medical assistance. Once blistering occurs or the burn is on the face, neck, hands or feet you need to get to a healthcare practitioner or hospital. The priority is to ensure the wound is cleaned and dressed correctly.

Full-thickness burn (third-degree)

All the layers of the skin are damaged, and the burn goes through the dermis and affects deeper tissues. The skin appears pale, waxy and charred. Surprisingly, this burn is often not painful, as most of the nerve endings have been damaged. The patient is very cold as the protection from the environment (provided by the skin) has been damaged by the burn injury.

These injuries are extremely serious. Immediately seek medical assistance. Gently remove clothing, shoes and jewellery from the area unless it is stuck and wait for medical assistance.


People do not realize the seriousness of burns and often think that medical treatment is not required. As a guide, burns that are larger than your palm, and or that form blisters need treatment. All airway burns need medical treatment. People who have pre-existing medical conditions are at greater risk to suffer greater side effects from burns. Also, note some of the referral criteria to a specialized unit. Here are a few:

Full-thickness burn. For example, caused by fire. It is often recommended that burns over a large area, as well as burns that are partial or full-thickness, should be attended to by a medical professional. These burns can be very serious, and if not treated properly, can lead to serious injury, scarring and even death in extreme cases.

Electrical burn

Burn-in special areas like hands, face and perineum for instance

Burnshield® is most effective in the emergency phase (the first 24 -36 hours). It immediately cools, soothes and rehydrates the burn. This significantly reduces the damage caused by the burn.

There are different degrees of skin burns so if there is still pain and heat coming from the wound area after the initial 12-24 hours seek medical attention.

Person Applying Burnshield

All Burnshield® Recommendations:

  • A burn needs immediate attention
  • First and foremost cool and soothe the burn

The second important action is to rehydrate the burn area, this helps the recovery

Burnshield covers all actions in one solution

All Burnshield® products contain our sterile hydrogel (96% water, Melaleuca Alt. (Tea Tree) Oil, Gelling Agent). It absorbs and dissipates heat which minimizes burn damage. Provides cooling for pain relief and shock reduction.

It is clear and easy to assess the wound. The gel is non-stick and will not adhere to the wound. It is a natural anti-bacterial: that reduces infection. Non-toxic. Non-irritant. Safe to use on Children.

As long as pain or heat is coming from the burn area, keep applying Burnshield®.

We recommend lightly applying a non-absorbent bandage to secure the gel/dressing to the wound area.

The burn should be kept moist/wet for as long as possible to aid the recovery process. If pain and heat persist seek medical attention.

Dentec Safety Specialists, Inc.

Dentec Safety is a leading manufacturer and distributor of safety products in North America since 2004. Dentec Safety is dedicated to providing the highest quality safety products and solutions delivering enhanced value and comfort. Our expertise from decades of experience in Industrial Safety and our innovative design technologies have solidified us as thought leaders in the field. Protection and comfort are at the core of everything we do at Dentec. As a leading manufacturer of Safety Solutions, it is our mission to help organizations do the right thing, keep their employees safe and exceed Industry Health & Safety standards.

Get In Touch

Have a question? Need some help? One of our Safety Specialists will be in touch within 24 hours.

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