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How to Estimate the Body Surface Area of a Burn

    Examine the Victim

    • 1). Determine the body parts burned and how much each part is affected. For example, if the outside of an arm is burned, consider that one half of the arm. The torso is separated into back and front, but if the chest is burned and the abdomen is not, consider that one half of the front of the torso.

    • 2). Convert body parts into percentages. The head is nine percent; the arms are nine percent each; the legs are 18 percent each; the torso is 18 percent for the front and 18 percent for the back and the groin is one percent. For instance, the front of both legs is 18 percent, the outside of the arm is 4.5 percent and the abdomen and groin together are 19 percent. The size of the palm of the burn victim's hand is approximately one percent of his body surface area.

    • 3). Record your findings for medical personnel. The body surface area of a burn is vital information in determining treatment and the medical facility the victim may require.

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