In the outdoors, burns can be caused by accident with stoves, fires, boiling liquids, rope, chemicals (for example, from leaking batteries) and the sun.
Burns can be categorised into five main types:
• Thermal – caused by fire, hot liquids or objects, friction and flashes of heat.
Severe cold can cause burns similar to thermal burns
• Inhalation – caused by breathing in hot air, gases or particles
• Chemical – caused by contact with alkalis or acids
• Electrical – caused by an electrical current, such as lightning entering and exiting the body
• Radiation – usually caused by sunburn
The skin has various functions including:
• Temperature regulation
• Sensation and touch
• Barrier to infection
• Control of fluid loss
When skin is burnt, all these functions are compromised. Fluid loss can lead to shock. The amount of lost fluid will be in proportion to the size of the burn. The lost fluid can be seen weeping from the burn or collecting in blisters. The chance of infection increases with the size of the burn, as a burn is an open wound.