Burns constitute one of the most serious and frequent problems that affect the skin. Typically, we think of a burn as an injury caused by fire or by contact of the skin with a hot surface. However, overexposure to ultra violet light (sunburn) or contact of the skin with an electric current or a harmful chemical such as acid can also cause burns.

A freeze bite is an injury or destruction of skin and underlying tissue, most often that of the nose, ears, fingers, or toes, resulting from prolonged exposure to freezing or subfreezing temperatures. The condition has long been recognized. A 5000-year-old pre-Columbian mummy discovered in the Chilean mountains offers the earliest documented evidence of frostbite. More recently, Napoleon’s surgeon general, Baron Dominique Larrey, provided the first description of the mechanisms of frostbite in 1812, during his army’s retreat from Moscow. He also noted the harmful effects of the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle endured by soldiers who would warm their frozen hands and feet over the campfire at night only to refreeze those same parts by the next morning.
Although frostbite used to be a military problem, it is now a civilian one as well. Most people who get frostbite are males aged 30-49 years. The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes (your extremities) are most commonly affected. Everyone is susceptible, even people who have been living in cold climates for most of their lives.

Classification of Burns- First degree burn. Causes minor discomfort and some reddening of the skin. Although the surface layers of the epidermis may peel in 1 to 3 days, no blistering occurs, and actual tissue destruction is minimal. Ex. Typical Sunburn.

Second degree burns- involves the deep epidermal layers of the dermis. Although deep second-degree burns damage sweat glands, hair follicles, and sebaceous, complete destruction of the dermis does not occur. Blisters, severe pain, generalization swelling, and fluid loss characterize this type of burn. Scaring is common. First- and second-degree burns are called partial-thickness burns.

Third-degree burns- A third-degree, or full-thickness burn is characterized by complete destruction of the epidermis and dermis. In addition, tissue death extends below the primary skin layer into the subcutaneous tissue. Third degree burns often involve underlying muscles and even bone. One distinction between second- and third- degree burns is that third degree lesion are insensitive to pain immediately after injury because of the destruction of nerve endings. The fluid loss that results from third-degree burns is very serious problem.