SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Third degree burns covering a patient's head and face. Third degree burns destroy the whole skin layer, including underlying fatty tissue. If more than 10% of the body surface is affected the victim will be in a state of physiological shock immediately after the accident, due to loss of body fluids from the burned area. This can be fatal if not treated by intravenous fluid replacement. Loss of skin exposes the body to contamination by bacteria, which may cause fatal complications. For this reason the victim is treated by isolation nursing in a specialist burns unit. Skin grafts are eventually required.
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