Suntans and Sunburns: A Case Study in the Integumentary System

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Topics: Skin, Epidermis
Suntans and Sunburns
A Case Study in the Integumentary System
By WH Cliff and AW Wright A Painful Winter Break

On the first day after arriving in Australia for Christmas vacation, a University of Niagara student plays out in the sun for six hours. Later that night he notices that the skin on his trunk, legs and arms becomes red, swollen and extremely painful. By morning all of the afflicted areas have developed numerous blisters. These areas cover about 30% of the trunk (front and back) and 40% of the arms and legs.

1. What organ has been damaged?
· The Integuemtary System (skin) has been damaged.

2. What general types of tissue have been afflicted?
· Stratified squamous epithelium in the epidermis, areolar connective tissue, and some dense irregular connective tissue in the dermis have been afllicted

3. What type of burn has the student received? Explain.
· He has received burns in the 2nd degree which are accompanied by blisters and pain.

4. What type of radiation has caused the burn?
· Ultraviloet radition (UVA) specifically UBA and UBV.

5. List ALL the layers of the skin that have been damaged?
· Epidermis: stratum corneum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and stratum basale.
· Dermis (upper region): papillary layer

6. List ALL layers that have been killed?

· None of the layers have been killed, just damaged in the second degree.

7. What tissue repair process causes the blistering?
· Tissue regeneration which is the process in which liquid builds up between the epidermis and the dermis layer causing them to separate.

8. Why is this type of burn so painful?
· Due to the damage of the epidermis many nerve endings in the dermis have been exposed which cause pain.

A burn is considered critical and should receive prompt medical attention if:

> 25% of the body is covered by 2nd degree burns or > 10% of

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