Burn Awareness Week Feb 6-10
As 75 to 80 percent of burn injuries happen in and around the workplace or at home, it is important for you to be aware of risks and take precautions to make your work place and home safe for you and your family. Each year in the United States, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention. Approximately up to 4,500 people die every year in the U.S. from burns and related infections. Included below is information from the American Red Cross Emergency Services to help you learn more about burns, how to prevent them and what to do if you or a family member or co-worker sustains a burn.
What is a burn?
Very simply, a burn is damage to the skin and underlying tissue. It is caused by heat, chemicals, radiation or electricity, and may damage or destroy skin cells. Deeper burns may involve the fat, muscle or bone. Scalds result when one or more layers of skin are destroyed by contact with hot liquid or steam.
The depth of injury depends on two things:
What are the most common causes of burns?
Burns may be caused by several different mechanisms, each with their own complications:
What are the symptoms of each degree of burn?
First degree (Superficial)
Water temperature Time required for a third degree burn
68 degrees C/155 F 1 second
64 degrees C/148 F 2 seconds
60 degrees C/140 F 5 seconds
56 degrees C/133 F 15 seconds
52 degrees C/127 F 1 minute
51 degrees C/124 F 3 minutes
48 degrees C/120 F 5 minutes
37 degrees C/100 F Safe temperature for bathing
How do I ensure safe water temperatures in my home?
To protect your family, you can apply one of these methods:
Burns can also come from gases and liquids. Here are the flashpoints for some common liquids and gases found around the home or workplace:
Safety Solvents 100-140°F
Diesel Fuel 125°F
Paint Thinner 105°F
How can I help prevent burns from happening to me or my family?
-- Turn pot handles toward back of stove. Keep long cord appliances toward back of counter.
-- Keep children at a safe distance from all hot items by using playpens, high chairs, etc.
-- In a hotel if there is a fire alarm check the door or knob with the back of your hand for heat before opening doors
-- Don't cook with children underfoot. Create a safe zone.
-- Never hold an infant or child while pouring or drinking hot liquids.
-- Turn water heater temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
-- Always check water temperature before placing child in tub.
-- NEVER leave your child unattended in the kitchen or bathtub.
-- Put sunscreen on you and your children.
-- Use safety plugs to cover electrical outlets.
-- Never spray charcoal lighter fluid or gas on charcoal that has already been lit.
-- Keep a screen or glass cover over your fireplace.
-- Keep matches and lighters in a locked box, out of reach of children.
-- Install smoke alarms on every level and in every sleeping area of your home. Test them once a month and replace batteries when necessary.
-- Always place hot items on a secure surface to avoid accidental tipping.
-- Never, never bury hot barbecue coals- extinguish with water first.
What you do to treat a burn in the first few minutes after it occurs can make a huge difference in the severity of the injury.
Immediate Treatment for Burn Victims
1. Cool burn with water
Immediately pour cool water on burns or soak them for at least three to five minutes (20 minutes for a chemical injury). DO NOT USE ICE. Ice may cause more damage, stick to the burn and remove the skin. For scalds, immediately remove hot, wet clothing.
2. Do not apply ointments or butter
Use only cool water on burns. Ointments, butter, creams or salves allow the burn to retain heat, may cause infection and may hinder medical evaluation.
3. Cover the burn
Apply a soft, clean, dry dressing, bandage or sheet to the burned area. Do not break blisters, as this could let germs into the wound. Cover burn victims and keep them warm.
4. See a doctor
Adults should see a doctor if the burn is larger than the size of a quarter. Infants, young children and the elderly are endangered by even small burns, and should see a doctor.
Prevention and Sun Burn exposure /Tanning and Burning
When ultraviolet (UV) rays reach the skin's inner layer, the skin makes more melanin. Melanin is the pigment that colors the skin. It moves toward the outer layers of the skin and becomes visible as a tan.
A tan does not indicate good health. A tan is a response to injury, because skin cells signal that they have been hurt by the sun's UV rays by producing more pigment.
People burn or tan depending on their skin type, the time of year, and the amount of time they have spent in the sun. The six types of skin, based on how likely it is to tan or burn, are—
Prevention can save lives, long term affects of sun burns and radiation can lead to melanoma, basil cell cancer or cataracts.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is the most easily treatable and least likely to spread, though it can damage surrounding tissue. Because basal cell carcinoma spreads slowly it occurs mostly in adults. Basal cell tumors can take on many forms, including a pearly white or waxy bump, often with visible blood vessels, on the ears, neck, or face. Tumors can also appear as a flat, scaly, flesh-colored or brown patch on the back or chest, or more rarely, a white, waxy scar.
Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer, but it’s the most serious and potentially deadly. Possible signs of melanoma include a change in the appearance of a mole or pigmented area. Consult a doctor if a mole changes in size, shape, or color, has irregular edges, is more than one color, is asymmetrical, or itches, oozes, or bleeds. Melanoma can affect the skin only, or it may spread to organs and bones. It can be cured if it's found and treated early.
A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that blocks the passage of light to the retina. Cataracts are painless but may cause vision problems, including foggy vision, glare from light, and double vision in one eye. Prevent cataracts by wearing a hat and sunglasses when in the sun.
Shun the Sun
The best way to prevent sunburn, premature wrinkles, skin cancer, and other damaging effects from the sun is to stay out of it, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest. If you can't, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more liberally (don't forget the lips and ears!), wear a hat and sunglasses, and cover up with clothing when outdoors. If you notice changes to your skin such as a mole changing appearance, a new growth, or a sore that won't heal, see a doctor right way.
Information provided by the American Red Cross, CDC and ADAM
Today's blog post is brought to us courtesy of Ken Oswald
Safety and Security Manager for Plateau