How Burn Victims Can Get Their Lives Back?
People who experienced severe burn injuries suffer from physical and emotional pain. Their body image concerns can cause severe distress among these burn victims, especially after seeing themselves in the mirror for the first time.
Around a third of burn victims experience severe distress due to the changes in their body’s appearance. But they normally get accustomed to how they look after some time.
Body Image Concerns
Concerns about body image following a burn injury depend on how people feel about the burn. Their gender and coping mechanism also play a factor in their concern, along with their support network. Distress on body image can involve their apprehensions on the stares and questions people might have, social setting where their scars are visible, and how other people react to these scars. These are normal feelings for people who have burn injuries due to an accident. But easing these concerns go through several phases.
Following the burn injury, the body goes through several healing phases. The first phase is the wound-healing phase, where open wounds see lighter-colored skin as they heal. For people with darker skin, they will see pink-colored skin. At this point, people can regularly change the dressing to ensure the wound is clean. It allows it to heal faster.
The scar formation phase comes once the burn wound heals. The scar typically forms over the next four months when the skin turns darker and stiffer. While scarring can be disconcerting for some, they can work with a rehab team to reduce it. They can wear splints or pressure garments, perform stretching exercises, or massage the scar. It is also important to keep the healing skin protected from the sun.
The scar maturation phase will come next and can take around two years. The process will see the skin become flat and softer and return to a normal skin tone. People may have to wear splints or pressure garments. They may also have to perform stretching exercises and massage the wound.
They can also consult a plastic surgeon who can give tips on improving the scar. They have training on working on burn reconstruction. Some of these tips may include cosmetic tattoos or the use of lasers.
Aside from changing the appearance of the skin, severe burn injuries can also damage areas under the skin. Some burn victims can go through reconstructive surgery, including skin grafts. Grafted or healed skin may have permanent discoloration. The damaged skin may be darker or lighter compared to the uninjured skin.
The need to work on appearance does not always point to vanity since people want to feel better through the way they look. Since major burns cause permanent changes in the appearance of the body, people can learn to accept these changes as part of the healing process. They should focus more on the interests and internal strengths that allow them to enhance their self-image.
People can look at their accomplishments, whether in their career or personal life. They can accept their scars without liking them. Some people may have fully accepted the changes in their appearance, while others accept these changes at a much higher level.
People with burn injuries can attract stares from other people who may stare and ask uncomfortable questions. In these cases, burn victims can prepare answers to possible questions these people may ask. They should use a friendly tone while answering the question and show their confidence. Parents of these victims can also answer calmly to act as role models to their children. They should build their children’s confidence in answering these questions to ward off teasing from other kids.
Talking about their injuries allows some people to heal emotionally. They can also lead the conversation away from their injuries if they are not comfortable with the situation. Asking open-ended questions can guide the conversation away from them. They can also go around with someone they trust when they need to go out in public.
Burn injuries require both physical and emotional healing. Burn victims will need support from their family and friends. They should also look to colleagues and health professionals for the support they need to overcome their injuries. Additionally, they can also count on other burn victims who share their experiences for support.
Burn victims can also look to some organizations dedicated to providing care and support for people who suffered burn injuries. These organizations have the resources these people need to deal with their situation.
Burn injuries have a considerable impact on the life of a person. But they can cope with these issues with the support of family and friends who can help them heal both physically and emotionally.