Children are very innocent and as such are often the victims of burn injuries. Burn injuries can be caused by a variety of sources including car accidents, fires, household hazards, and electrical shocks. The most serious symptoms of burn injuries are life-threatening complications such as pulmonary embolism, circulatory collapse, and shock syndrome. Children who have been severely burned should seek medical attention immediately. There are some common signs and symptoms of severe burn injury in children. These include skin rash or blisters, bleeding and bruising, tightness in the chest and throat, pain in the chest and stomach area, fever, and vomiting.
Children who suffer from severe burn injuries usually experience difficulty breathing, losing consciousness, choking, suffocation, or burning chest pain. In approximately two to five percent of cases, children who suffer from severe burns also develop mental impairment and anxiety. While children experience various signs and symptoms associated with burn injuries, it is not uncommon for them to experience long-term emotional health consequences such as depression, anxiety, and drug abuse. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately two to five percent of children admitted to the burn unit experience long-term emotional health consequences. While many burn victims require surgery and extensive hospital care, approximately two to five percent of burn victims need to be hospitalized for long-term treatment.
The medical terminology for children burned below the skin is referred to as fibromas and is usually described as redness, warmth, swelling, and scabbing. The medical terminology for children burned at the subcutaneous level is called somatic. The medical terminology for children burned beyond the skin is known as the exoskeleton and is usually described as redness, swelling, and scabbing. In extreme cases, children may even lose their ability to walk. It is important to note that fibromas and somatic burns differ slightly and fibromas will heal more quickly than somatic.
Children experience acute stress over a wide range of emotional and physical experiences and there are many common reasons for acute stress symptoms in children. Many experts believe that some children are more susceptible to developing these symptoms than other children. Some of the most common reasons for developing acute stress symptoms in children include violence, divorce, death of a loved one, or the death of a friend. Abusive treatment, neglect, and abuse from other parents can also cause stress in a child. For some children, stress may develop over time due to academic, emotional, or social stressors.
As children experience various stressors throughout their development, they will be at a higher risk for developing burns. Burn injuries can occur during all stages of childhood, but most likely occur during the fourth year of life or younger. During this period, many of the organs involved in the digestive and respiratory systems are not yet fully developed and cannot appropriately prevent or heal burns. Children who suffer from burn injuries may experience both short term and long-term psychological distress as a result of their burns.
One study conducted by the Burn Injury Research Centre at the Harvard University shows that children can exhibit signs of burn injury up to three months after they have suffered an injury. The majority of these children exhibited low levels of physiological data, but they also showed an increase in vocalizations and a tendency to reach for objects. These burn injury victims were found to have a decreased ability to control emotions and had a significantly lower level of awareness than sunburn patients.
Younger children tend to suffer more severe burns and their symptoms can be easily mistaken for that of other health conditions. For example, small burns can mimic jaundice in adults. Jaundice can be treated with medications, however, and it is not evident that younger children lack the ability to recognize this symptom. Further, symptoms of burns in younger children are not consistent with those of post-traumatic stress disorder. The most common burn symptoms in younger children include fever, rash, redness, and itching.
In most cases, children can recover from early childhood stress without developing posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, prolonged or frequent exposure to trauma may lead to symptoms of psychological or physiological abuse, or the development of behaviors that mimic PTSD. A child that experiences in early childhood stress and suffers from PTSD may have abnormal physiological responses. If the child has been physically abused, he or she should be evaluated by a physician to determine the potential cause of these abnormal responses.
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