Assessing the severity of a burn is an important part of determining how to deal with the burn injury, as well as deciding whether to evacuate the burned victim.
Difficulty Level: Check for Moderate Burns First.
What are the Steps?
The first step in how to treat a burn injury is the most logical step. Look at the wound site to be treated: If the skin is red and painful, but there are no blisters, chances are it's a superficial burn.
Look for blistering and wetness and ask about the degree of pain. If blistering is present and pain is severe, the burn is probably partial thickness.
Consider a full-thickness burn if the injured person reports no pain, or just a dull pain, in the center of the burned area. The skin may also look charred and grayish.
Look at the injured person's palm: The surface area of the palm represents approximately 1 percent of the individual's TBSA (total body surface area).
Compare this area to the extent of the burn to arrive at a TBSA figure. Burns covering more than 15 percent (15%) TBSA are life-threatening, especially partial- and full-thickness burns.
Continue with treatment for the burn (see also "How to Treat a Burn in the Wilderness").
When in doubt, evacuate the burn victim. *This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. > Back to Catastrophic Injuries Main Page.