Scalds: Hot Liquids Burn Like Fire
Every year, thousands of people in the United States suffer from burn-related injuries. In 2020, the Center for Disease Control reported that over 276,000 people received medical care for unintentional burn injuries and more than 91,000 required hospital treatment. To help reduce these numbers, the American Burn Association started National Burn Awareness Week: an initiative that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of burns and scalds, and to educate the public about how to prevent these types of injuries from happening. This year’s theme, “Scalds: Hot Liquids Burn Like Fire,” highlights the dangers of hot liquids and how consumers can prevent burn-related injuries from occurring at home. Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention, Gary Farley, has stated that "During National Burn Awareness Week, I want to remind Tennesseans who might be cooking at home to always focus on fire safety whenever they are in the kitchen in order to prevent painful, scalding burns and dangerous home fires from occurring." To help raise awareness of the importance of home fire safety, consumers are reminded to keep the following tips and first-aid practices in mind.
How to Avoid Scald Injuries:Hot liquids pose a danger, just as fire does. If you are not careful, hot liquids can cause serious injury. To help prevent burn-related injuries from occurring at home, it is important to be aware of the dangers of hot liquids and to take appropriate precautions. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of scald injuries and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
- Keep hot liquids and substances away from children and pets. Children and pets are more susceptible to scalds because their skin is thinner and more sensitive.
- Use caution when handling hot liquids, such as coffee or soup, and never walk or run with them.
- Set your hot water heater to a temperature no higher than 120°F to reduce the risk of scalds from tap water.
- Install anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads. These devices are designed to limit the amount of hot water that can flow through the faucet, helping to prevent scalds from occurring.
- Check the temperature of bath water before getting in and use a thermometer if necessary.
- Avoid using extremely hot tap water for cooking, cleaning, or washing dishes.
- Keep the handles of pots and pans turned inward on the stove to prevent them from being knocked over.
- Use oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot pots and pans.
- Use caution when opening a microwave oven, as steam can escape and cause a scald.
- Be prepared in case of an emergency. Keep a first-aid kit in your home that includes burn ointment, a clean cloth, and a cool, damp compress to help treat minor burns.
Firs-Aid for Burns:Burns are tissue damage, ranging from minor to severe, that can cause pain, redness, and blisters. In some cases, burns can even lead to scarring and long-term skin damage. Knowing when to seek medical attention, and how to treat burns at home, is important in order to minimize the risk of complications.
When to Seek Emergency CareCall 911 or seek immediate care for major burns that:
- Are deep, involving all layers of the skin
- Cause the skin to be dry and leathery
- Are larger than 3" in diameter
- Cover the hands, feet, face, groin, a major joint, or encircles an arm or leg
- Are caused by chemicals or electricity
- Are accompanied by symptoms such as fever, chills, or excessive redness/swelling
Home Treatment for Minor Burns
- Remove the heat source to prevent further injury
- Cool the burn with cool water for 10-15 minutes to help reduce pain and swelling
- Apply an over-the-counter topical cream or ointment, such as aloe vera or an antibiotic cream
- Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or cloth to prevent infection
- Seek medical attention if injury needs more care.