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Flash Burn of Skin

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a flash burn?

A flash burn is caused by an explosion of natural gas, propane, gasoline, or other flammable liquid. Any unprotected part of your skin that is exposed to the explosion can get burned. The severity of your burn depends on how long your skin was exposed to heat from the explosion. The burn can be a first degree or second degree burn.

What are the signs and symptoms of a first degree flash burn?

A first degree burn is a burn of the first (outer) layer of your skin. A first degree burn heals within 3 to 7 days. Symptoms include the following:

What are the signs and symptoms of a second degree flash burn?

A second degree burn is also called a partial thickness burn. This type of burn occurs when the first layer and some of the second layer of your skin are burned. The deeper layers of your skin, sweat glands, and oil glands are not damaged. A superficial second degree burn heals within 7 to 21 days. You may have any of the following:

How is a flash burn diagnosed and treated?

All clothing, jewelry, and foreign objects will be removed from the burn area. Your healthcare provider will examine your burn and determine how severe it is. Treatment depends on the type of burn you have. You may need any of the following:

How do I care for my flash burn at home?

You may need to change your bandages at least 1 time each day. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for caring for your burn. He or she may recommend the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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