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|Preventing Burns|Most Burn Injuries Happen In the Home,
and Most Can Be Prevented.
In the Kitchen
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Stay nearby at all times when food is cooking.
- Turn pot handles in. Never let them stick out over the edge of the stove where they could be bumped or pulled over.
- Don't leave spoons or other utensils in pots while cooking.
- Turn off burners and ovens when they're not in use.
- Keep plenty of dry pot holders or oven mitts near your cooking area. Using a wet pot holder can result in a severe steam burn.
- Do not toss wet foods into deep-fat fryers or frying pans containing hot grease. The violent reaction between the fat and water will splatter hot oil.
- Remove the lids from pots of cooking liquids carefully to prevent steam burns. Remember, steam is hotter than boiling water.
- In microwave ovens, use only containers designed for microwave use. Let microwave-cooked food or liquids cool before carefully removing covers.
- If a pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the burner.
- Do not allow children or pets to play in the area where you are cooking.
- Wear tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to reduce the risk of catching your clothing on fire.
- Adjust your water heater's thermostat to less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees C) to prevent scalds.
- Always turn on the cold-water faucet first, then add hot.
- Keep matches and smoking materials out of children's reach. Store them high, in a locked cabinet. Buy child resistant lighters.
- Do not allow children to play around fireplace fires or around working space heaters.
- Cover unused wall outlets with safety caps and replace all damaged, frayed, or brittle electrical cords.
- Do not leave hot irons unattended.
- Do not leave barbecue grills unattended, and supervise children's cookout activities such as toasting marshmallows.
- Teach your children that steam radiators, stove burners, irons, and other familiar household objects are sometimes hot and can burn them.
Types of Burns
There are six major types of burns.
A Matter of Degrees
- Flame burns, caused by direct contact with fire.
- Scalds, caused by hot liquids or steam.
- Contact burns, the result of touching hot objects.
- Chemical burns, caused by contact with corrosive chemicals such as battery acid.
- Electrical burns, caused by contact with live electrical wires.
- Ultraviolet burns, caused by overexposure to the sun or to sun lamps.
All burns are classified by the amount of damage done to the skin and other body tissue. Every family member should be able to identify the severity of burns and know how to treat them.
The severity of injury caused by burning clothing can be reduced by following three simple steps.
- First-degree burns are minor and heal quickly. Symptoms: reddened skin; tender and sore.
- Second-degree burns are serious injuries and require immediate first aid and professional medical treatment. Symptoms: blistered skin; very painful.
- Third-degree burns are severe injuries and require immediate professional medical treatment. Symptoms: white, brown, or charred tissue, often surrounded by blistered areas; little or no pain at first.
First Aid for Burns
- Stop: Don't run.
- Drop: Drop immediately to the floor.
- Roll: Cover your face with your hands and roll over and over to smother the flames.
- Cool the burn: For first and second degree burns, cool the burned area; preferably with cool running water for 10 minutes. This will lower the victim's skin temperature, which stops the burning process, numbs the pain, and prevents or reduces swelling. Do not use ice or very cold water. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. Cool them only with wet sterile dressings until help arrives.
- Remove burned clothing: Lay the victim flat on his or her back and remove burned clothing that isn't stuck to the victim's skin. Remove jewelry or tight-fitting clothing from around the burned area before swelling begins and, if possible, elevate the injured areas.
- Cover the burn: After the burn has been cooled, apply a clean, dry dressing to the burned area.
- Don't put butter or any other grease (including medicated ointments) on a burn. Grease holds in heat, which might make the injury worse.
- Don't break blisters: This could allow germs into the wound.
- Treat for shock: To reduce the risk of shock, keep the victim's body temperature normal. Cover unburned areas with a dry blanket.