Common Questions Children Ask About Burns
Reference series by Megan Bronson in Phoenix Society's "The Journey Back"
Q. Why are your scars different colors than the rest of your skin?
A. New skin or skin that is healing is usually pink. Some scars are places that had skin grafts. Some scars are shaped like rectangles and that is where the doctors took the healthy skin from to help the burned areas get better. These scars eventually turn almost back to the same color as the rest of the skin. Some scars may be bumpy or look like a net.
Q. Does it hurt to touch your scars?
A. No. The scars may look like they are tender or sore, but they are all healed and don’t hurt anymore. Burn survivors can wash their skin, go swimming, get hugs, and do just about anything you can do. Sometimes scars can get scraped easy until the skin gets stronger.
Q. Can you have surgery to make the scars go away?
A. Burn survivors usually have had several surgeries by the time they leave the hospital and some may likely have several more in the coming years. The doctor’s do the best they can to help the skin heal, but it will never look exactly like it did before it was burned.
Q. Why do you always wear gloves and a mask? Are you trying to hide your burns?
A. Pressure garments help burned areas stay smooth and flat. They are usually really tight like wearing a girdle. They can be very warm when the weather is hot. When skin is healing, it likes to work over-time, and it often will work so hard that it makes extra skin that gets puffy and rises like bread rises in the oven. Wearing special tight clothes like pressure gloves and masks helps remind the skin to only heal as much as it needs to so the scars stay flat and smooth. They usually have to wear these special tight clothes for about a year. Everyone’s skin heals a little differently and the doctor makes the final decisions about the treatment.
Q. Can you eat when you are wearing a face mask?
A. Burn survivors who need to wear a pressure mask can take it off to eat and to bathe but they have to wear it the rest of the time.
Q. If I touch his scar will I get one?
A. Scars are not contagious, you cannot catch one by touching or being near someone with them.