You are probably aware that doctors evaluate burns by degrees, with third-degree burns as the worst. However, burns can actually progress in severity into the fourth degree. If you have not heard of a fourth-degree burn, it is likely because fourth-degree burns are not common. Nonetheless, they can happen.
Fourth-degree burns can inflict serious damage on you. In fact, Healthline explains that a fourth-degree burn is a medical emergency. You will likely have to go to a burn unit if you suffer this kind of burn.
Symptoms of a fourth-degree burn
A fourth-degree burn may produce a charred appearance on your skin. You might even notice your skin looks white. Fourth-degree burns can expose muscles or even a bone. Even as horrific as a fourth-degree burn can look, you might not feel any pain. This is not a good sign, however. This means that the burn has damaged your nerves so you cannot feel pain in the afflicted area.
It is important to seek treatment as soon as you can. A burn this serious can result in loss of circulation. You may have a damaged organ. Also, the breakage in your skin from the burn can permit bacteria or other harmful pathogens to enter your body, possibly causing a life-threatening condition. A lack of treatment may cause an arm or leg to decay and require amputation to save your life.
Fifth and sixth-degree burns
Burns can progress even higher than fourth-degree burns, up to the fifth and sixth degree. A fifth-degree burn results in charred skin and exposes the bone. It is likely to result in permanent damage to your body and possibly your organs. This kind of burn may result in amputation. A sixth-degree burn can penetrate so deep that it burns the bones and may be fatal on the scene.
Fortunately, very severe burns like fourth-degree burns do not happen often. If you do suffer a fourth-degree burn, you should receive treatment as soon as you can. Thanks to advances in medical science, doctors have different ways to treat fourth-degree burns and help victims rebuild their lives.