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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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How can a skin infection present itself from 3rd degree burns?

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Dr. Mahaveer Patil

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 1209 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 6 Aug 2018 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: Hello, my name is Carina, and I'm a writer, so my question is hypothetical, hope you won't mind.
My scenario is a burn victim with 3rd degree burns over most of his back, and I'm wondering about infection.
First of all, how it presents. I know this is something easy enough to look up online, but just hear it from a doctor's mouth.
Secondly, what measures are taken to prevent it. Obviously changing the dressing often is step one, so I was just wondering if there are any other measures to take.
And most importantly how it is treated? What kinds of medications would or could be used. If my knowledge is not flawed, amputation is an option in extreme cases with limbs you can live without, such as a leg, but what would the extreme case option be when the infection is spreading over his back?
And once the infection sets in, what are the chances of survival?

I thank you very much for your time, and I hope you have a nice day
Best wishes
Carina
doctor
Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 1 hour later
Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service. I have reviewed your query and here is my advice.

Brief Answer:
difficult to treat

1,How it presents?- Well,in a third degree burn,most of the skin layers are burnt and also may involve the underlying muscle layer as well.It may present as a huge blackened,bruised skin over most part of the back region or a small region,depending upon the extent of burn.

If infection has set in,the affected area would be reddened with oozing blood and pus and the part would be painful.

2.What measures are taken to prevent it?-Apart from regular change of dressing,maintaining a good hygiene is important.

The patient should be segregated in a separate ward/room to avoid cross infection from the surroundings.

Good aseptic precautions should be used while doing the dressings.

Frequent change of positions is recommended.

Antibiotics and multi vitamin tablets help in faster recovery.

3.How it is treated? - Optimal and daily dressings with silver sulphadiazine is the best remedy available for the treatment.In extreme cases,full thickness skin grafting from other non-burnt part is the only option.

Once infection sets in,the chances of survival reduce considerably and this largely depends on the surface area that is burnt.

Almost more than 90 % cases of infection succumb to death ,sooner or later.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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