Burn type differentiation


What is the difference between first-, second-, and third-degree burns?

See burns for more details and first aid information.

  • First-degree: red skin, mild swelling, some pain.  
  • Second-degree: red skin with blisters that may open and ooze clear fluid, very painful.  
  • Third-degree: both layers of skin are destroyed, skin appears brown or charred, can be either extremely painful or painless (if the nerves have been damaged).


Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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