Burn Prevention Tips for the Holiday Season

Burn Prevention

One of the most devastating types of injuries is a burn. Many are so bad they require hospitalization and, unfortunately, this is the time of year when doctors see an increase in burn incidents.

Fortunately, many patients receive top-notch help from the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. According to director Dr. Bruce A. Cairns, the center is strategically located in the heart of America’s “Burn Belt.”

“We have a lot of grease fires, house fires, occupational injury, scalds, bonfire-type injuries,” he explained. “We just have more of all kinds of injuries that result in needing a burn center, and that’s particularly down here in the Southeast.”

Prevention Tips – Think Twice!

Cairns said the best burn treatment is actually prevention, and most burns can be prevented by simply thinking twice when you’re in a potentially dangerous situation.

For example, if you use a space heater, make sure nothing gets within three feet of it, or it could catch on fire.

“If you’re not very mobile and you have a blanket, this can happen in an instant,” Cairns said. “Your clothes can catch on fire and that can be very devastating.”

The kitchen is often the place where people are burned. For instance, children sometimes are badly burned when they grab handles from pots and pans that are sticking out over the edge of the stovetop range. To prevent this from happening, turn the handles inward.

Grease fires in the kitchen often catch people off-guard, so they do the wrong thing, which can result in a burn.

If grease catches on fire in a pot or pan, do not grab the container and throw the flaming grease outside or in the sink. Instead, cover the container with a lid or a cookie sheet, anything that will cut-off air to the grease fire. Then turn off the heat source, which will likely be the burner or the oven.

Stop Devastating Accidents

Microwave ovens can produce some bad burns, particularly for children and the elderly. Microwaves can super-heat food to temperatures much hotter than we realize.

This is especially true for liquids that are microwaved. Sometimes they do not boil, even though the temperature exceeds the boiling point.

To prevent this, always microwave food in short increments, such as 15, 20 or 30 seconds. Stir the item, if applicable, then carefully test the temperature with your finger, and if it’s not warm enough, repeat the process.

Over-filling a turkey fryer can cause devastating burns. Because of this, many fryers have “fill line” imprinted on the pot.

However, to make sure, you can determine how much oil to put in your turkey fryer by testing it first with water. Place your turkey and enough water to cover the turkey in your fryer and draw a line (or make a mental note) where your “fill line” should be.

Also do not use turkey fryers in a house, garage, or any other shelter and keep them away from the sides of these structures.

Many people are burned when they use gasoline to start fires, which Cairns says is a bad idea.

“A lot of our patients think, ‘Well, if I don’t have lighter fluid or any other appropriate way to start a fire, I’ll throw gasoline on. It causes so many problems. You have an explosion, and the patients will end up coming in with a really devastating burn,” he said.

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Lorie Johnson

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