Preventing Household Burns

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Every year, about two million individuals suffer burn injuries, and around

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70,000 of them require hospitalization. In fact, burns are among the leading causes of injuries in children. They are also the greatest tragedies that are actually preventable. Here are steps you can take to avoid household burns.

• When cooking, do not leave the pans unattended. Make sure to keep the pot handles turned toward the rear of the stove.
• Never leave hot liquids, such as coffee or soup, on the counter or table edges.
• Avoid carrying hot liquids or food around your child or while carrying your child.
• Before serving foods or liquids, make sure to check the temperature.
• Do not open microwave-heated foods or liquids directly in front of a child.
• Keep lighters, matches and other ignition devices away from children in a locked cabinet. It is recommended that you use child-resistant lighters.
• Test bathtub water temperature before putting a child. Make sure the water
does not exceed 125 ºF. Alternatively, you can use your elbow to test the water temperature.
• Use safety caps to cover unused electrical outlets. Replace frayed, damaged or brittle electrical cords.
• Make sure every floor of the house has fire extinguishers, especially in the garage and in the kitchen. All members of the household should know how to use them.
• Every floor of the house should have a working smoke detector. Regularly check smoke detectors and replace batteries at least once a year.
• In case of grease fire, do not use water as it can spread the fire.
• If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop to the ground and roll to smother the flames.

It is important to know first aid for burns. Healthcare professionals recommend seeking
medical help for burns to the eyes, hands, mouth, and genital areas, even if they are mild.
For minor burns that are localized to a certain part of the body, run cool water over the
burn site or apply cold compress to minimize the pain. Do not apply anything over the
burned site, especially butter or any other oils. Use of ice is not recommended. Remove
tight clothing or jewelry around the burned areas, and apply a dry, clean dressing.
For major burns or burns that cover a large area, be sure to seek medical attention or visit
the nearest emergency department immediately. Do not use water to avoid breaking the
blisters open. If the clothing is stuck to the burned skin, do not attempt to remove it. Make
sure to keep the victim warm and dry. Elevate burned limbs to minimize swelling.
Be sure to get immediate medical attention if you develop any of the following symptoms
due to burn:

• Excessive swelling

• Pus-like or foul-smelling wound drainage

• Fever

• Blister filled with brownish or greenish fluid

• Burn that does not heal for more than a week

• Severe redness of the skin

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