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National Burn Awareness Week Feb 2 - 8

web posted February 3, 2014

COUNTY – It’s the leading cause of burns among children: scalds. Burns caused by hot water are some of the most painful and devastating injuries treated by the medical professionals at Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga.
“Children are far more susceptible to burns than adults,” said Dr. Fred Mullins, the medical director for the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga., and the president of the Joseph M. Still Burn Centers, Inc. “For example, if bath water is 130 degrees (F), an adult can be burned within five minutes. It takes only seconds for a child to be burned at the same temperature. And a child’s burns will often be far worse.”
Scald burns are the focus of the annual National Burn Awareness Week, which is Feb. 2-8, 2014.
Each year in the United States, fires and burns result in almost 4,000 deaths and more than 745,000 non-hospitalized injuries among all age groups, according to the American Burn Association. Scalds account for 75 percent of the burns to children, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Of those, one in four is caused by hot tap or bath water.
“We see scald burns to children every day,” said Dr. Mullins. “But we also see similar burns to elderly adults, since their skin is also thinner than a normal adult and therefore easily burned.”
One easy way to avoid scald burns is to start at the hot water heater. Setting the thermostat to 120 degrees (or “warm” if there is no detailed thermostat) will keep the water at a safe temperature before it touches skin.
“That does not mean you should automatically trust the temperature of the water,” Dr. Mullins said. “Always test the water temperature before you use it.”
Other tips to avoid scalds, especially those that can occur in the kitchen, include:

    Create a three-foot “safe zone” around appliances in the kitchen.
    Never leave any unattended items on the stove top, and make sure all handles are out of the reach of children.
    Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child.
    Keep all hot items away from the sides of the table.
    Remember, items heated in the microwave can be exceptionally hot and cause internal burns.
    Try to avoid using tablecloths which could allow a child to pull hot liquids off a table.

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