Eli5 How do people die from from burns? The fire can be out, the person can conscious, and there skin can appear to have no bruising or blood loss. How do they die in the hospital days later?


There is a video I saw of two guys being set on fire in a fight where one has his flames extinguished within seconds of being lit but succumbed to the burns months later. How? Being that perhaps the first layer of skin is now literally burned off what leads to the person passing even though they were perfectly awake The whole time with no stab wounds, broken bones, etc. ?

In: Biology

Infection usually. Your skin is the main barrier to outside pathogens. Once it (or layers of it) are removed, opportunistic infections are pretty close behind.

Being awake has nothing to do with how badly you are injured. Your body’s inflammatory response to burns also is likely to throw off your fluid balance and put you into shock – the resulting collapse in blood pressure can cause damage to all of your vital organs. If you survive that, you are still wide open to all kinds of infections. Your skin is a vital organ and major disruption of it can easily kill you.

Burns normally leave giant welts that swell up with a lot of water. This can throw off your fluid/ion balance and you essentially dehydrate. This is why they tell you to go to hospital for a burn bigger than a twenty cent piece ( am Australian, I dunno what they tell people in other countries, but a big coin).

In the case of OP it sounds like it’s probably infection. Your skin is like a big cling wrap film hat protects you from all the bacteria that you come into contact with each day. If it gets a little hole in it your body can close it up pretty quick. If you get a giant hole in it takes a long time to close the wound and it’s very easy to get a serious infection and die.