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There are many different ways you can get a burn. Friction, electrical, chemical, radiation and even severe cold are some of the types of burns you may experience. Most people have had a sunburn at some time in their life, but how do you identify the severity of your burn? Burn severity has been categorized into degrees; first, second, third, and fourth. The higher the degree, the more severe the burn.

The least severe burn is a first degree burn. These burns will only affect the first layer of your skin leaving it red, warm and slightly painful. A first degree burn will not blister and should not cause any long term damage to your skin.

The next level is a second degree burn which damages the outer layer of your skin and the layer underneath (the dermis). The skin will be swollen, red, and may look shiny / wet. A second degree burn is likely to blister which will hurt to the touch. This may leave scarring depending on the type / severity of the burn.

A third degree burn will extend through every layer of skin. This may be among the most severe type of burn, but will not always cause pain due to nerve endings being damaged. Instead of red, this burn can cause the skin to turn black, yellow or white. Surgery is often required and will leave scarring. A fourth degree burn has the symptoms of the third degrees burns, but damage can extend to tendons and bones.

Taking preventative measures is the best way to keep a burn from happening. Doing small things like wearing sunscreen, being aware of potential hazards in your surroundings and regularly checking your smoke detectors can all help prevent burns.