According to the American Burn Association (ABA), approximately half a million burn injuries occur every year in the U.S. requiring medical care. More than 4,000 people die from such injuries with up to 10,000 dying from infections related to the burns.
Severe burn injuries are among the most painful and devastating for injury victims and their families. These injuries can result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, nerve damage, serious infections, multiple surgeries, and intense pain.
Almost half of all burn injuries stem from contact with fire such as through explosions, building fires, and flames from lighters and stoves. Other burn injuries can be caused through scalding from boiling liquids, through contact with hot objects (thermal burns), or contact with electricity or chemicals, such as strong acids like lye, gasoline, and more. Burn accidents can occur in any location, at home, at work, at industrial sites, oil rigs, hotels, in the car, and elsewhere.
Third- and fourth-degree burns are the most severe of all burn injuries. These types of burns affect the living tissue layers of the skin and can reach even further below the surface to nerves, muscle, and bone. They can lead to infection and require hospitalization often in specialized burn units. These types of injuries often require surgeries such as skin grafts. In the worst cases, amputation may be required. Although medical advancements have raised the survival rate of burn victims, they may still face a future permanently disfigured, disabled, and suffer lifelong pain.
Fires in homes, at chemical or other industrial sites, and in-vehicle accidents can not only cause burns in the lungs through breathing in extreme heat, they can also cause the inhalation of toxins from the types of materials burning as well as smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation is a common fire-related injury that causes a major percentage of deaths in burn accidents.