Author Archives: Jen Greenstreet

What Are Burns?

what are burns

Burns are a common wound that occurs to the skin, and is the fourth leading cause of injury in the world (behind auto accidents, falls, and violence).

What Causes Burns?

Burns can be caused by four main external sources:

  • Thermal Burns – at temperatures of greater than 111 degrees Fahrenheit, proteins within skin begin to lose their shape and break down, leading to cell and tissue damage. Thermal burns often result from fire or hot liquids.
  • Chemical Burns – exposure to chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid or common household substances like bleach or toilet  bowl cleaner can burn the skin.
  • Electrical Burns – exposure to electricity via either electrical cords and outlets or lightning can cause burns. Most of the damage from this type of burn can actually be internal.
  • Radiation Burns – long exposure to ultraviolet light, or from ionizing radiation such as x-rays, can cause the skin to burn. The most common instance of this is sunburn

There is a scale with four “degrees” of burns depending on the severity of the exposure. First degree burns are superficial burns that generally heal well within a week. These burns do not penetrate the epidermis (visible layer of skin). Second degree burns can take up to three weeks to heal and often do not leave scarring. These burns extend into the dermis (internal layers of skin). Third degree burns can take months to heal, if they do at all and extend throughout the entire dermis. Fourth degree burns are the most severe, extending past the dermis into muscles/bones/fat. Fourth degree burns often require amputation and can be fatal.

Burn Treatments

Burn treatments have been documented as far back as the ancient Egyptians using breast milk. Cave paintings and papyrus from 3,500 years ago show that honey and resin were used as treatments. Other treatments used throughout history include tea leaves, pig fat, vinegar, wine, and myrrh.

We’ve come a long way since then. The roots of modern burn treatment can be traced back to London in 1843, with the opening of the first hospital to treat burns. During World War I, disinfecting standards were established using sodium hypochlorite solutions, greatly reducing mortality rates. By World War II, skin grafting became a widespread procedure.

Severe burns can be treated with a number of different approaches combining to produce life-changing results. With the severe burns, it’s vital to keep the burned flesh from becoming infected. Cooling the burn with room temperature water in the early stages of the burn can help stop its spread. Topical antibiotics will help keep out infection. Intravenous fluids will help to keep the burn victim hydrated. Surgery to the wounds is also performed on the most severe of burns to close wounds and promote healing.

Burn Facts

  • Chemical burns account for less than 10% of all burns, but 30% of all burn-related deaths
  • More than 25,000 substances are known to cause chemical burns
  • There were 340,000 fatal burns worldwide in 2010
  • Burns are a top-15 cause of death in children worldwide
  • 70% of burns in the U.S. happen to males
  • 60% of burn fatalities occur in Southeast Asia
  • 1/3 of burns in India are the result of loose clothing catching on fire

Burn Victim Video Stories

Learn more about burns by watching our film: “Just Like You – Burns as Told by Three Children”.

What is Down Syndrome?

what is down syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic condition found in humans that results in intellectual and physical development delays.

The History of Down Syndrome

Though there is anecdotal evidence throughout history in art and in historical accounts of humans with Down Syndrome, the condition wasn’t formally described until the 1860s. A British physician by the name of John Langdon Down first characterized the condition in a clinical sense, hence the name Down syndrome.

What Causes Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is caused by an error in cell division known as “nondisjunction”, which leads to having an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. Currently, there is no evidence pointing to what causes this to occur.

Treatments for Down Syndrome

There is no treatment for Down Syndrome as it is a lifelong condition. There are numerous ways to help those with Down syndrome lead long and fulfilling lives though. Speech therapy, along with physical and occupational therapy from a young age can help significantly improve physical and intellectual abilities. With therapy and structure, people with Down syndrome are often able to lead independent or semi-independent adult lives.

Down Syndrome Facts

  • Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 700 babies born in the US (6,000 babies born each year with it)
  • 250,000 Americans live with Down syndrome
  • The average life expectancy in 1910 of a person with Down syndrome was 9 years old
  • The average life expectancy now of a person born with Down syndrome is 55 years
  • Down syndrome is the least funded major genetic condition by the National Institutes of Health
  • Only 1% of cases of Down syndrome are considered to be hereditary (passed from parent to child through genes)
  • 50% of babies born with Down syndrome will also have heart defects present at birth
  • The risk for having a child with Down syndrome increases with the mother’s age (data via NDSS):
down syndrome rate by mothers age

Down Syndrome Video Stories

Learn more about Down Syndrome by watching “Just Like You – Down Syndrome”

Down Syndrome Information Sources

Inclusive Schools Week – December 2nd – 6th

Down Syndrome Inclusive Schools Week

‘Tis the season for equality and education! The 13th Annual Inclusive Schools Week, sponsored by Inclusive School Networks, is celebrated December 2-6 in classrooms, school, and communities throughout the world. As the year comes to a close, take some time to learn more about how you can help support children with disabilities.

This special event supports the progress and planning of educational inclusion within schools, and encourages quality education to all students, including those who are marginalized due to disability, gender, ethnicity, geography and language. Following the journey from “Awareness to Action,” schools celebrate this week by purchasing Celebration Kits which include tools to help meet the needs of children with disabilities and diverse backgrounds through inclusive educational practices.

Although this event occurs during this week, Inclusive Schools Network offers materials to schools and communities that they could use year-round to promote awareness and the importance of inclusive education.

As a charity specializing in showing people how we are all more alike than different, Just Like You Films is proud to support the Inclusive Schools Week cause. View our video below on Down Syndrome to learn more!

Learn more about Inclusive Schools Week today!

Just Like You Blog – Help us Create a Better World

cancer and down syndrome awareness charity

Our mission statement at Just Like You Films is simple:

We want to help raise the world’s first generation of children who are more compassionate and connected human beings because they understand that people are more alike than we are different.

Our series of films, translated into 3 languages and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, are just the start. Filmmaking will always be our core means of spreading awareness, but we’re adding blogging now to maximize the tools available to us to help spread our message. Through passage of knowledge and inspirational stories, we hope to end bullying and bring us all closer together.

While the current generation of kids and young adults can get a bad rap for a seeming lack of care for their fellow human, one needs to look no further than the news to see the best of next generation at work. The video below is everything we’re working towards. Watch as a high school football team helps their water boy (who has down syndrome) score a touchdown.

Just try to read some of the amazing quotes from the story without smiling ear-to-ear.

“It feels pretty good. I am a big senior now. I’m so happy. My parents are here today and we have a big night tonight,” said VanVooren, beaming from ear-to-ear. VanVooren has Down syndrome. Yet on this field, he’s always been one of the guys.

“He’s always positive. Walking down the sideline he’ll pat you on the back and say you’re doing a great job,” said senior fullback Chet Pereenboom.

His teammates said they wanted to repay him. So they and the whole town had an even bigger surprise waiting for VanVooren on the chilly October night.

Those are the types of stories that keep us going and fighting for our cause. We’re all humans and we all deserve to be treated well, regardless of any real or perceived differences in lifestyle, culture, or abilities.

Thank you for coming to our website and thank you for supporting our cause. With a little help, we can ensure that everybody lives in a compassionate and connected world.

Please do not hesitate to share your own stories with us, as we’re always happy to give them the spotlight they deserve. Help us create a better world, and be sure to stop by often as we share more insight, uplifting stories, and videos on living with diseases/disabilities and raising children with diseases/disabilities. It can be a rough world out there, so let’s work to make it better for everybody.

If you’re interested in learning more about Just Like You Films, head on over to our “films” page to learn more about Down Syndrome, Cancer, and Burn Victims. Next up, our Autism film premieres in December!