How Serious Is Fluid Loss with Burn Injuries?
Many people believe that damage to skin is the most serious part of a burn injury. While the damage itself is serious, the effects of the skin damage are also severe. Skin keeps fluids, like water, inside the body. If a burn injury destroys the thickness of the skin, fluid can leak out freely, and fluid loss is a very serious side effect of a burn injury.
The Issue of Burn Dehydration
Third-degree burns can sometimes lead to dehydration because they damage the entire thickness of the skin and affect nerve-endings. They leave the body more open to lose fluids. The layers of skin keep fluids inside the body. Fluid will often seep from the burned area, causing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
If the fluids are not replaced immediately after the burn, you can experience renal shut down and hypovolemic shock, which is an extremely serious condition where the heart is no longer able to pump rich, nutrient-filled blood to organs, causing some organs to shut down and stop working. It is a condition that can be fatal if it is not treated soon enough.
How is the dehydration treated?
It is vital for burn victims to have their fluid replaced as soon as possible. Doctors determine how much fluid patients need based on their size and severity of the burn, along with various other factors. Pumping fluids back into the body puts burn patients at risk for edema, which occurs when large amounts of fluid build up in bodily tissue or the body cavity. If the edema happens in a closed space with nerves, muscle tissue, and blood vessels, referred to as a compartment, it could lead to blood vessel compression, which would have negative effects on blood flow.
Though it is generally not seen as a serious consequence of a burn, fluid loss can be fatal. Your body needs fluids to function correctly and burns cause fluid loss that could seriously affect your body’s ability to pump blood effectively.
The treatment of dehydration with burn patients is one that needs to be done with an extreme level of caution. For lesser burns, the patient can be given fluids orally. However, with more severe third degree burns, if the patient is subject to too much fluid at once, they might be in danger of getting compartment syndrome, which is a pressure issue under the skin and can lead to less oxygenation and poor blood flow, which can result in nerve or muscle damage.
How can this be properly monitored?
To confirm that there isn’t a pressure issue happening, the medical team can check the hydration levels in the patient’s urine and check for any residing pressure issues with a carefully-placed needle in the affected area that’s attached to a pressure meter. This process should be used until the patient’s hydration levels return to a normal, balanced level.
If you experience a severe burn, seek medical attention as soon as possible, especially if you are losing significant amounts of fluid through the wound. A doctor can diagnose the severity of the burn and restore bodily fluids before the loss becomes a serious issue.
If you suffered a burn injury, contact the San Diego burn injury attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP about your case today! They offer free consultations to discuss what compensation you could be entitled to. Call us today! (619) 295-0035