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Burn Center Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is a 2nd Degree burn?
    • These involve the bottom layer (dermis) of the skin
    • These are usually red, pink and moist
    • Some deeper 2nd degree burns may be pink or white and dry
    • These are usually painful
    • They usually take 2-3 weeks to heal, although deeper 2nd degree burns may take much longer
    • Deeper 2nd degree burns may lead to scarring and contraction
    • Deeper 2nd degree burns often require skin grafting
    • Larger and deeper 2nd burns should ALWAYS be seen by a burn specialist
  • Q: Who should be evaluated by a Burn Center?
    A: • Adult 2nd degree burns > 10% TBSA (total body surface area)
    • Pediatric 2nd degree burns > 5% TBSA
    • ANY 3rd degree burn
    • Chemical injuries
    • Electrical injuries
    • Inhalational injuries
    • Patients with burn and trauma injuries
    • Burns involving face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum or crossing major joints
    • Burn injury with preexisting medical condition that may complicate management
    • ANY burned child in hospital without facilities to provide care for children
    • Burn injury in patients who require special social, emotional or rehabilitative intervention
    • ANY burn that your physician is not comfortable managing
  • Q: I would like to donate to the burn center. What can I do?
    • We are extremely grateful for anyone willing to donate as we have numerous projects designed for improving the care of burn survivors around the world.
    • Everything that we have done wouldn’t have been possible if not for the generous contributions from the public.
    • Please contact us at 501-364-1635 for more information.
  • Q: If my child is admitted to the Burn Center, will he/she miss an entire year of school?
    • With recent advances, it is extremely rare for children, even with large burns, to miss an entire school year.
    • Arkansas Children’s Hospital also offers in-hospital schooling for patients who are here for longer periods of time.
  • Q: I want my staff/hospital/school to learn more about burns. What can I do?
    A: Our nurses and physicians provide educational and outreach programs across the state; you can contact our outreach coordinator at 501-364-5359 or e-mail at
  • Q: What can I do to prevent someone in my house from being burned?
    A: • Keep small children out of the kitchen
    • Turn pot handles away from the edge of the stove
    • Watch out for electrical cords attached to hot items
    • Set your water heater to 120 degrees
    • Keep lighters and matches LOCKED away (not just hidden)
    • If you have children at home that play with matches or lighters, you can contact the Arkansas Fire-setter Intervention, Referral and Education (FIRE) program at 1-800-KID-FIRE
    • Don’t use gasoline for any reason other than filling your gas tank
    • Do not smoke while using oxygen

  • Q: I have scars from an old burn that are painful and don’t allow me to move freely. What can I do?
    A: Our burn surgeons perform burn reconstruction and scar revisions. Call the Burn Center at 501-364-1323 for more information.
  • Q: I was burned and now have light and dark areas (hypo- and hyper-pigmented) areas on my skin. Is there something that I can do?
    • 1st and most 2nd degree burns should regain most of the normal skin color after 9-18 month.
    • We do offer some surgical procedures that can help with color changes.
    • Call the Burn Center at 501-364-1323 for more information.
  • Q: My child is burned, can I donate skin?
    A: Unfortunately, you can’t as the body will reject someone else’s skin. We do use cadaver skin, and there is a need for organ and skin donation (not when you are living); you can contact the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) at 501-224-2623 for more information about the Gift of Life.
  • Q: Do I have to do dressing changes at home?
    A: Sometimes you do; however, we can often have home-health nurses assist or you can come the burn clinic.
  • Q: Am I awake for dressing changes?
    A: When the dressing changes become minor and you are close to being discharged from the hospital, you will be awake for the dressings to make sure you and/or family can do the dressing changes at home.
  • Q: Am I awake during surgery?
    A: NO; most of our patients are placed under general anesthesia, unless they have significant heart or lung issues.
  • Q: What is a skin graft?
    • Skin grafting is the process of “shaving” a thin layer of skin from an unburned area and applying to the burned area after the burns are removed.
    • The area where is the skin is taken from (donor site) usually heals without scarring in 2-3 weeks.
  • Q: I heard that daily dressing changes and whirlpool therapy are very painful and that patients are always screaming. Is that true?
    • NO; we do not use whirlpool therapy anymore and many of newer dressings can be changed weekly 
    • We also use some dressings that don’t need to changed at all, and allow the skin to heal underneath 
    • Our surgeons, anesthesiologist and nurses are very attentive to patient’s pain and we try our best to minimize any discomfort that patients may have
  • Q: I have seen pictures of patients with large scars and twisted extremities. Am I going to look like that?
    • With recent advances in burn care and the use of skin substitutes, we can usually prevent large, thick scars.
    • Most of our patients regain close to 100% of their pre-injury level of function.
  • Q: What kind of burn does grease cause?
    A: Grease burns usually cause deeper 2nd degree burns and almost 40% require surgery.
  • Q: Can soup and sauces cause deeper burns?
    A: Yes, especially in children and the elderly, soups and sauces can cause deep 2nd degree burns.
  • Q: What can I do to heal faster?
    • For 1st Degree burns – make sure you apply moisturizer and keep the skin moist
    • For 2nd and 3rd Degree burns – seek medical attention
    • For larger burns, we advise a balanced, nutritious diet with extra protein
    • Nicotine and smoking SIGNIFICANTLY impair the healing process
    • If advised, therapy is very important and helps patients regain function and may prevent the need for reconstructive surgery
  • Q: What is first thing I should do I when I am burned?
    • STOP the burning process (STOP, DROP and ROLL)
    • If small, run the affected area under cool (not cold) water
    • Cover with a clean dry towel or sheet
    • Seek medical attention
    • Do not attempt to treat at home
  • Q: What is a 3rd Degree burn?
    • Both layers of skin are destroyed
    • These often involve the underlying fat
    • These are usually white, brown, dry and leather-like
    • Third Degree burns do not heal
    • Third Degree burns cause scarring and contraction
    • They almost always require skin grafting
    • These should ALWAYS be seen by a burn specialist
  • Q: What is a 1st Degree burn?
    • First degree burns involve the top layer (epidermis) of the skin
    • These are bright pink or red
    • They usually don't have blisters, although the skin may flake few days later
    • These are usually painful
    • They usually heal within 3-5 days
    • There is no scarring

The Burn Center
Arkansas Children's Hospital
1 Children's Way, Slot 210
Little Rock, AR 72202-3591

Call: 501-364-1323

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