First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin; second-degree burns damage the outer layer and the layer beneath it, while third-degree burns involve damage or complete destruction of the skin and underlying tissues. The swelling and blistering characteristic of burns is caused by the loss of fluid from damaged tissues. Burns often lead to infection, due to damage to the skin’s protective barrier. Few years ago the mortality rate in severe burns cases was very high, though it is still higher than in other accidents, today, patients with burns covering 80 per cent of the body can survive.

Serious complications following burns injury may occur after the initial incident, often when the patient is in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Post-burn complications such as contractures, hypertrophic scarring and keloids can be decreased owing to early physiotherapy and the use of pressure garments and neck collars, but the rate is still high in Pakistan due to lack of resources and insufficient care facilities.