What may increase your risk for problems from a burn?

Many conditions, lifestyle choices, medicines, and diseases interfere with your ability to heal or fight infection. You may be at risk for a more serious problem from your symptoms if you have any of the following. Be sure to tell your health professional.


  • Very young or advanced age
    • Babies and children age 3 and younger are at higher risk for problems from burns because of loss of fluids from the body. Nonaccidental burns may be a sign of child abuse.
    • Older adults also may be at higher risk for problems from burns because of loss of fluids from the body and circulation problems. Older adults are more likely to have other health problems that may affect their ability to fight infections and recover from a burn.
  • Pregnancy
  • A problem or condition present since birth (congenital defect)
  • Previous burn injury
  • Previous surgery to injured area
  • Previous surgery to remove the spleen

Lifestyle choices

  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal
  • Smoking or other tobacco use


  • Blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin, heparin, and aspirin
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection
  • Medicines used to treat cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Radiation therapy


  • Cancer
  • Chronic edema
  • Chronic skin disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Hemophilia
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lupus
  • Malnutrition or an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Vascular disease, such as venous insufficiency or peripheral arterial disease

Last Updated: January 7, 2009

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