Dr. Bernal discusses burn care

February 16, 2012
Dr. Nicole Bernal

IN THE NEWS: The Los Angeles Times discussed burn wounds and treatment with Dr. Nicole Bernal:

We often see the headlines about people around the world setting themselves on fire. But what happens afterward? Nicole Bernal, acting director of the UC Irvine Regional Burn Center, walked us through it.

What happens to the body when it is set on fire?

As you can imagine, it’s an excruciatingly painful thing to go through. Your skin is burning.

After about an hour or two, the body has a wonderful way to protect itself. It kind of walls off the pain. It’s basically adrenaline. Your body goes into a certain amount of shock. Once the burn becomes severe, it’s burned down to the nerves so you don’t initially have any sensation in those burned areas. Then the adrenaline kicks in. It’s our mind’s way to protect us from the tragedy that we went through.

If they make it through, recovery is a very painful process with all the skin grafts and multiple surgeries.

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