Napalm Burns (Blog 5)

woman-and-child-napalm-vietnam1

Napalm is a destructive tool that the United States used to kill the Viet Cong in masses during the Vietnam War.  However, napalm not only killed a few Viet Cong soldiers, it destroyed everything in its path.  As a result of the napalm bombing, carbon monoxide persists in the environment.  Carbon monoxide is dissolved into the blood if humans are exposed and breathe in the chemical.  Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in the blood, is inhibited when carbon monoxide is present.  Therefore, tissues in the body are blocked from receiving oxygen.   In high concentrations hallucinations may occur along with muscle paralysis.  Externally, napalm causes burns on the skin.  Children were most widely in danger because their burns were more serious than adults because they cannot regulate their body as well as an adult rendering them more susceptible to further health problems and death. Burns by napalm are classified as third degree burns. This accounts for the destruction of the epidermis and the dermis.  The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin.  The dermis lies underneath the thin epidermis and containing nerves, blood vessels, glands, hair follicles, and tissue.  The body cannot regrow dermis tissue.  It is only replaced by scar tissue.  Immediate treatment was needed if they would be able to survive.  These wounds are very prone to infection, which can further inhibit nutrition from the wound site resulting in a prolonged healing process.  Hydration is important to the victim’s health.  When the body is burned, fluid loss occurs rapidly and worsens the healing process as well.  This can also result in cardiac arrest because of the imbalance of fluid and oxygen in the blood.  With 400,000 tons of napalm dropped in Vietnam, there were countless people affected: soldiers, citizens, and children.  The lack of medical knowledge as a third world country contributed to the people’s unbearable suffering.

Dreyfus, Gilbert. “Napalm and Its Effects on Human Beings.” 911 Review. 911.org, 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.

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