by Jenna Fox and Baylee Yancey; Farnsley Middle School (Louisville, KY)

Third degree burns can happen to anybody! Benjamin has been affected by 3rd degree burns. As a child, at age 5, he pulled a pot of boiling water on his head. It was so bad he had to have a skin graft. This has changed his life forever, because he can never grow back his hair. 

Third degree burns can cause permanent damage. Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

People spend months in the hospital due to 3rd degree burns; they may even die. While a third degree burn may kill nerves, it leaves the rest of the area in severe pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a third degree burn is a moderate to severe burn. They are the most serious type of burns because they affect all layers of the skin and often cause permanent tissue and nerve damage. Third-degree burns extend into the fat layer that lies beneath the dermis and spreads into muscle tissue. Healing burns can be incredibly painful. In many cases, morphine is required, particularly during dressing changes. Anti-anxiety medications may also be helpful. This injury can be relatively painless because it damages the nerves that feel pain. Skin burned this badly can look white, black, or even brown and it will not heal without extensive scarring.

          About 450,000 Americans get burned each year and have to receive medical care, according to, which is a website helping people who have been affected by burns.

         According to Wikipedia, the length of time and the amount of heat determines how severe the burn can be. At 120º F, it takes 10 minutes to get a 3rd degree burn. At 124º F, it takes 5 minutes. It takes 30 seconds to get a burn at 131º F. Finally, it takes only 5 seconds to get a burn at 140º F.

         Our science teacher, Ms. Buerger, has her water at home set at 140º F meaning that at any time she could get a 3rd degree burn within 5 seconds of sticking her hand in her water. She explained, “I have to be very careful when turning on the hot water at home. In fact, I really need to turn the water heater down to 120º F.”

         Not all burns are caused by a fire or hot water. They can be caused by many types of things like some fruits and vegetables, says Huffpost Healthy Living, which is a healthy living website. This is a very rare type of burn called phytophotodermatitis, a severe burn caused by the sun’s UV rays and lime juice. Huffpost also reports five little girls just squeezed the limes into a cup. Even though all of the girls had sunscreen on, a couple days later the girls were hospitalized with 3rd degree burns. They believe it was the combination of UV rays and lime juice. To prevent phytophotodermatitis. wash hands properly after handling citrus fruit.

There are many ways to tell if you or someone else has a 3rd degree burn. The burned area most won’t heal without extensive scarring. During the time of the burn many possible things may happen, like; permanent tissue and nerve damage, which can make the injury close or completely painless, according to Mayo Clinic.

Jenna Fox and Baylee Yancey

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