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Water-jel technologies described a burn as damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused due to heat, chemicals or electricity. Burns damage and destroy the skin cells and deeper burns involve fat, muscle or even bone. Damages caused to skin due to destruction of one or more layers on coming into contact with hot liquids or steam are called scalds. The period of exposure and temperature to which the skin is exposed to the burning substance determines the depth of injury.
A graphical illustration on raising children network depicted that major cause of burns are hot drinks comprising of 44%, burns from cooking liquids & hot food comprise of 22%, closely followed by burns caused due to boiling water comprising of 20% burns and lastly hot tap water consist of 14% burns. Some of the statistics as stated by water-jel technologies are as follows: ? Every 25 seconds a person is either burned or scalded somewhere in the US. ? Two thirds of burns involve hands and arms with 90% domestic burns to women occurring in kitchen.
? About 1 million burns occur annually in households and about 500,000 scalds are a consequence of spilled foods and beverages. ? Majority of burns are associated with flame. ? 200,000 children receive burn injuries by coming into contact with hot substances and objects. 100,000 children are scalded due to spilled food and beverages. ? The highest risk groups are children aged less than 5 years and adults above 65 years; Children below 4 years are most affected due to scalds. According to Gibran, Heimbach and Engrav most burns occur due to carelessness and not following some simple precautions leading to severe burns on self and others.
Some of causative factors as follows: 1. When household chemicals are accessible to children. 2. When a child bumps into someone carrying hot foods and beverages or liquids or attempts to carry hot foods or liquids. 3. When a child sucks or inserts an electrical chord into his mouth or pokes objects into wall sockets. 4. When a child tries to reach tasty foods stored on a stove. 5. When a child experiments with match sticks or lighter. 6. When a child attempts some unsafe methods for keeping warm. 7. When a child tries to help in cooking and attempts playing or do a task using flammable substances. 8.
When an individual attempts to light a gas stove or oven without following proper instructions. 9. When an individual reach some articles across the burner causing the loosely worn clothing to ignite. 10. When highly inflammable substances are not properly stored. 11. When hot liquid spills during preparation or cooking or drinking hot beverages. 12. Highly inflammable material is poured on fire. 13. Handling of steam emanating vessels without taking proper precautions would cause steam burns or scalds. 14. Spilling of hot oil would cause severe burn injuries or scalds hot oil should never be left unattended.
What are the different categories of burns? According to Nemours foundation burns are categorized into first-, second- and third-degree burns. The cause of burn and type of burn would determine the type of treatment to be given. “All burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the burned area and reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue (if the burn is severe). ” First-degree burns: These types of burns are limited to the top layer of skin producing redness, pain and slight swelling the skin being dry and without blisters.
The healing time for these burns is approximately 3 to 6 days and the skin may peel off in about 1 or 2 days. Second-degree burns: These are more serious involving the skin layers beneath the top layer producing blisters, severe pain and redness. The blisters may break open with bright pink to cherry red appearance. The healing time may vary depending on the severity of burns. Third-degree burns: These types of burns are very serious involving all the layers of skin and underlying tissue. The surface of the skin may appear dry, waxy white, leathery, brown or charred with little or no pain and numb feeling due to nerve damage.
Healing depends on severity. Treatment may require skin grafting with healthy skin being taken from some part of the body and surgically placed on the wound to help in healing. Nemours Foundation stated that burns are to be treated as per the intensity and cause. Following measures need to be taken category wise: For first-degree burns following sequence of steps need to be followed: a. Remove the burnt person from the source and remove clothing. b. Run cool water (not cold) over the burnt area, do not apply ice. If water is not available in the vicinity any cool drinkable liquid or expose the burnt area for about 3-5 minutes.
c. Do not apply butter or grease and in case the burnt area is small cover it with sterile gauze pad or bandage and give the patient acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. d. If the area is small apply cool compress and an antibiotic cream may also be applied with loose bandage for about 24 hours. For second- and third-degree burns following steps need to be taken: i. First call for emergency services and before it arrives keep the burnt area elevated. ii. Follow the sequence of measures as in first-degree burns and remove all jewelry. iii.
If the clothing is stuck in the burnt area try to cut of the clothing, do not try to pull iv. Do not pierce or break blisters and after running cool water cover the burnt area with clean white cloth until help arrives. Firstly extinguish the flames and roll the burnt person on ground and cover with blanket or jacket. Remove smoldering clothing and jewelry call for medical assistance in case of second- and third-degree burns. In case of electrical or chemical burns first switch of the source (electrical connection) and flush with plenty of water then try to remove the clothing if possible.
According to Body1. com following preventive measures to be taken to avoid burns or accidental burns: ? Keep lighters, match sticks, chemicals, highly inflammable items and lit candles out of children’s reach. ? Child safety covers should be put on all electrical outlets. ? Remove all old equipment and old cords and extensions cords that are damaged. ? Flame retardant sleepwear should be chosen. ? Safety precautions need to be adhered to by older children while using irons. ? Fire extinguisher needs to be placed in the kitchen. ? Identify two exit points in case of a fire accident.
? Keep hot materials or foods out of children’s reach. ? Loose clothing ma not be worn while cooking. In my concluding remarks I would like to state that the old adage was rightly quoted stating that “Prevention is better than Cure. ” Hence it is advised that all the precautionary measures may be strictly adhered and fire accidents avoided for a better tomorrow. References Water-jel Technologies. Water-jel First Aid and Safety Information. Page retrieved on November 02, 2006 from: http://www. waterjel. com/FirstAid. cfm Raising children network (2006). Scalds: prevention and first aid.
Page retrieved on November 02, 2006 from: http://raisingchildren. net. au/articles/scalds. html Nicole S. Gibran, David M. Heimbach and Loren H. Engrav (2005). Burn Prevention and Safety Outreach. Harborview Medical Center. Page retrieved on November 02, 2006 from: http://www. uwmedicine. org/Facilities/Harborview/CentersOfEmphasis/Burn/ burnTips. htm Nemours foundation. Burns (2006). Page retrieved on November 02, 2006 from: http://www. kidshealth. org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/burns. html Body1. com. EDUCATION CENTER: First Aid (2006). Page retrieved on November 2, 2006 from: http://www. body1. com/care/index. cfm/4/73