Burn Awareness Week

Lets play out a scenario, shall we? You are at home with your young child making cookies in the oven and dinner on the stove top. Your little one decides to reach for the pot of boiling water on the stove and scalds himself. Do you know what to do? This is just one example of what could possible happen within a home on any given day. The key is how you can prevent this from happening and how to act once the injury has been done. Burns can come in many forms such as scalds, which can range from mild to severe, to burns obtained in a house fire.

There are three main types, or degrees, of burns that can occur. First degree burns are classified by the area being red and non-blistered. Second degree burns can be classified by the affected area having blisters with some thickening of the skin. Lastly are third degree burns, which require medical attention and can be classified by the affected area having widespread thickness of the skin and a white leathery appearance. Besides the three main types there are also fourth degree burns which have all the characteristics of third degree burns. Fourth degree burns, however, go deeper than the skin and have an affect of the tendons and bones beneath. In situations like these, medical attention is necessary to prevent long term harm.

Most household or daily burns that occur tend to be mild and most often scalds from hot liquid or minor burns from hot surfaces. These injuries are mostly accidents, such as bumping the stove and spilling that pot of boiling water or putting something in the oven and accidentally bumping the edge. While these are fairly common and minor, action needs to be taken to prevent damage to the skin and other areas.

There are a few special considerations when it comes to burns, which are the elderly and young children. To start off, the elderly have a higher risk for burn injuries. These could range from a cooking accident to a house fire. Some simple prevention tactics are to use oven mitts in the kitchen instead of a rag. Another is to be cautions when cooking with oil. If an oil fire should happen, cover the pan with the cover to smother the flames and never put water on an oil fire as it could cause more damage.

Next is young children. It is advised that parents establish a “no kid zone” in the kitchen around the stove, oven, and when taking out or moving hot items and liquids. This is just one way to prevent pediatric burns. Another is to use the back burners of a stove top with any handles of pots or pans facing away from the edge, or toward the wall. These tactics can help reduce the average annual cost of burn injures currently sitting at 44 million dollars. Implementing prevention techniques can also help prevent deaths associated with pediatric burns. On average 1,100 children die each year from burns and fire injuries.

Treatment of burns is fairly the same across all ages. The first step is to run the burned area under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. Should the burned site be surrounded by clothing, remove the clothing and then run the area under cool water. After that, wrap the area in sterile bandages or a clean towel. These should be changed periodically depending on the burn. As stated before, if the burn classifies as a third or fourth degree medical attention is required to prevent long term damage.

Overall, burns can be prevented and treated if caught soon enough. By following basic prevention techniques and remaining aware of what is going on you can avoid injury. Elderly individuals and people with young children should take extra precautions to assist in preventing injury. Only you can control what happens and it’s up to you to make the choice to prevent burns from happening.

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