How do doctors treat workplace burns?

Some workers are at greater risk of suffering a burn at particular workplaces. If you work at a facility that handles chemicals or flames or at a job site likely to expose you to electricity, you may need to take greater steps to protect yourself from burns. Should you sustain a burn at your job, you might be out of work for days, weeks or even longer.

With the help of workers’ compensation, you should have enough coverage to take care of your medical bills as you work towards recovering from a workplace burn. MSKTC provides some information on the kind of treatment you might receive and how long it may take for you to recover.

What kind of treatment will I need?

Treatment will generally vary depending on the severity of your burn. If you sustain a first degree burn, you may only have a reddened area of the skin that needs minor treatment. Second degree burns are more severe and may require ointment, though people with severe second degree burns might need surgery. Third degree burns are very serious and generally require surgery and possibly skin grafts.

Will I need a skin graft?

If you sustain a third degree burn or higher, your doctors might take skin from another area of your body to graft onto the burned area. Skin grafts come in different forms. You would probably only need a sheet graft to heal cosmetic damage. Your doctor might recommend a meshed graft if you have a larger wound. To reconstruct an area like the chin or a hand, a doctor might implant a full thickness graft.

How long will recovery take?

Your time for recovery will largely depend on the intensity of your burn. A first degree burn may just take a week and not leave any scars. Second degree burn recovery may last anywhere from one to three weeks and may only leave discolored skin instead of scars. You might need much longer to recover from a third degree burn, perhaps months or even more than a year.

What can I do to aid my recovery?

Since burns afflict people in many different ways, you will likely have to ask your doctor for specific advice on how to recover from your particular injury. You may benefit from coming up with a list of questions about your treatment to ask your doctor. Consider inquiring about how to build your strength back up, like through exercise, as it may help you get back to work as quickly as possible.


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