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Third-Degree Burns This indicates the burn has destroyed both the epidermis and dermis. The victim has the same trouble with fluid loss, heat loss, and infection that come with second-degree burns. Full-thickness burns also cause nerve death, so the victim may not be able to feel anything in the area of the burn.
|Anatomic Surface||% of total body surface|
|Head and neck||9%|
|Arms, including hands||9% each|
|Legs, including feet||18% each|
*Criteria not established for very large mass casualty incidents (MCI)Summary of Burn Unit Referral Criteria (PDF - 7 KB) (American Burn Association)
Acknowledgement: This CHEMM Web page was adapted from REMM and prepared in consultation with Dr. David Greenhalgh, President of the American Burn Association, August 2006
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Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on March 4, 2021.
A third-degree burn is also called a full thickness burn. A third-degree burn occurs when all 3 layers of your skin are burned. Your skin may be white, black, brown, or leathery. This type of burn injury is often painless because the nerves have been damaged. Bones and muscles may also be damaged. A third-degree burn is the most serious type of burn.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your burn. Tell him or her about your symptoms. He or she will examine your burn to determine how severe it is. Laser scanners may be used to check the blood flow in your skin.
Your muscles and joints may not work well after a third-degree burn. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
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