National Burn Awareness Week

National Burn Awareness Week is observed during the first full week of february each year to spotlight burn hazards and recall safety tips.

Emergency Treatment of Burns

Thermal Burns – caused by open flames, hot liquids, hot surfaces, and other sources of high heat.

1. Stop the burning process. Remove the victim from the heat.
2. Cool the burn with cold water.
3. Check breathing. Stop bleeding.
4. Cover burn with a sterile pad or clean sheet.
5. Maintain body temperature and transport to the nearest medical facility.

DO NOT apply oils, sprays, or ointments to a serious burn.

Sunburn may also be cooled with water. If sunburn is very extensive or is severe, seek medical attention.

Chemical Burns

1. Flush skin with water for at least 20 minutes.
2. Remove contaminated clothing, but avoid spreading chemical to unaffected area.
3. Provide continuous irrigation for eyes until medical help is obtained. Remove contact lenses.
4. Follow steps 3 -5 for thermal burns. In cases involving some powdered or dry chemicals, the use of water may not be recommended. Carefully brush the chemical off the skin and follow the emergency information indicated on the package or container.

Electrical Burns

1. Pull plug at the wall or shut off the current.
2. Follow procedures 3-5 for thermal burns.
3. All electrical injuries should receive medical attention.

In homes where young children are present, the use of “tamper proof” or child restraint receptacles should be considered. It is important to limit the use of extension cords and consider the use of specially designed “child resistant” cords, to help reduce the risk of electrical burns among young children.

General Considerations

1. Remove rings, belts, shoes and tight clothing before swelling occurs.
2. If clothing is stuck to the burn, DO NOT REMOVE IT. Carefully cut around the adherent clothing to remove loose fabric.
3. Burns of the face, hands, and feet should always be considered serious and should receive prompt medical attention.

Who is a likely victim?

Children under 5 years old suffer the highest number of scald burns. In the KITCHEN, they are scalded by hot liquids when pans are pulled or knocked from the stove or when coffee pots are pulled over. Also, scald and contact burns associated with cooking in microwave ovens are becoming more common in children and adults. The hot tap water in the BATHROOM is increasingly the cause of very serious scald burns. Tap water at 140 F, will produce a serious burn in less than five seconds. Hot water heaters should be set no higher than 130 F. Ideally, the water in the bathroom should not exceed 120 F.

Children age 5-9 suffer clothing burns most frequently. If gasoline is also involved, the age distribution extends from 5-29, with the highest number of burns being among boys 10-15. Misuse of matches or lighters and the combined use of matches and gasoline result in many serious or fatal burns. Teaching children the proper use of matches and lighters (“MATCHES AND LIGHTERS ARE A TOOLS NOT TOYS”) and ensuring the safe storage and use of gasoline will drastically reduce these injuries.

Adults, especially males, receive burn injuries when flammable liquids are used improperly. Fueling a hot lawn mower, using gasoline as a solvent for paint brushes, putting charcoal lighter on hot coals and using a flammable liquid near an open flame are extremely hazardous actions which can result in severe burns. Many adult women are burned when they try to remove a burning container of grease from the stove rather than smothering the fire with a lid or cookie sheet.

Older adults (over 60) may receive burns from clothing ignition. Falling asleep while smoking or coming into contact with open flames are common causes. They are also more likely to sustain a tap- water scald than younger adults.

Contact with the hot surfaces of wood or coal burning stoves, kerosene heaters, electric space heaters, etc., is a serious problem in all age groups.

If your clothes catch on fire Drop and Roll

Make sure your babysitter is familiar with these emergency procedures, and keep a list of emergency numbers, including pediatrician, ambulance and fire department, near your telephone.

© City of Hazelwood

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