Chemical and Common Burns in Children

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Abstract

Burns are a common cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in children. Thermal and chemical burns are the most common types of burns. Their clinical appearance can be similar and the treatment is largely similar. Thermal burns in children occur primarily after exposure to a hot surface or liquid, or contact with fire. Burns are typically classified based on the depth and total body surface area, and the severity and onset of the burn can also depend on the temperature and duration of contact. Chemical burns are caused by chemicals—most commonly acids and alkalis—that can damage the skin on contact. In children, the most common cause of chemical burns is from household products such as toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, detergents, and bleaches. Mild chemical burns generally cause redness and pain and can look similar to other common rashes or skin infections, whereas severe chemical burns are more extreme and may cause redness, blistering, skin peeling, and swelling.

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