When people think of burn injuries, they often focus on the immediate pain and trauma they cause. However, the long-term consequences of burns after a car accident or other injury can be equally devastating and life-altering.
According to the American Burn Association, over 450,000 burn injuries that necessitate medical help harm Americans every year. The issues people with burns face can vary widely and impact their lives in different ways.
Scarring and disfigurement
One of the most visible and persistent consequences of burn injuries is scarring and disfigurement. Burns can leave lasting marks on the skin, affecting not only a person’s physical appearance but also their self-esteem and mental well-being. Scars can limit mobility and lead to functional impairments, such as difficulty moving joints affected by the burn.
Burn injuries often result in psychological trauma that can persist long after the physical wounds have healed. Individuals may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or intense anxiety as a result of the traumatic experience. The emotional toll of coping with disfigurement and the memory of the burn can be overwhelming.
Depending on the severity and location of the burn, individuals may experience long-term physical disabilities. Burn injuries can damage muscles, tendons and nerves, leading to loss of function in the affected area. This can make daily tasks and activities challenging, impacting a person’s quality of life.
Chronic pain is a common long-term issue for burn survivors. Nerve damage from burns can result in persistent pain, which may require ongoing medical treatment and pain management strategies. Dealing with chronic pain can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and when it endures burns, it can lead to a host of long-term skin problems. These may include chronic itching, dryness and an increased susceptibility to infections. Skin grafts, which are often necessary for severe burns, can have their own set of complications.
Recognizing these challenges and providing support is the first step. After that, burn survivors can rebuild their lives and regain their sense of self-worth and independence.