Burn injuries in the United States lead to over 400,000 people needing care each year. Yet, with simple lifestyle changes and safety measures most home burns can be prevented. Below are a few tips to help you and your family avoid burn injuries:
General Burn Safety Tips
Monitor the condition of electrical cords
Electrical fires are a common cause of injuries resulting from burns. Be sure that the quality of your cords is being maintained and always throw away electrical cords that are damaged or broken. Make sure to check for damage frequently and never overload your outlets, power strips, or electrical circuits. For increased safety, experts advise installing safety caps on electrical cords and storing them out of reach.
Use space heaters carefully
Make sure to have enough fixed space around your heaters. When you leave the room or turn in for the night, always switch off heating devices. Experts recommend keeping all flammable materials, like curtains, blankets or towels at least three feet away from your heaters.
Practice burn safety in your kitchen
Burn accidents happen frequently in the kitchen. While cooking, never leave your food unattended and keep the stove area clear of all flammable materials. Make sure to keep your cooking area clean - grease and debris can quickly cause a fire emergency. Never use an oven to heat your home and always turn off cooking appliances when you are finished using them.
Check your fire alarms frequently
The US Fire Administration recommends checking your smoke detector as often as once a month, changing batteries every 6 months and replacing the alarm itself every 10 years. If the batteries are not working, make sure to change them immediately.
Test the temperature of your water and hot liquids
Not all burns are caused by fire. Extremely hot liquids could seriously harm you and your family members. Make sure to set your water thermostat to a maximum of 120 degrees and always check the temperature of hot liquids you consume or touch.
Never leave candles unattended
Candles can quickly become a fire and burn hazard. Always put them out before leaving your home or if they are in reach of your kids or pets, and make sure there are no flammable materials around.
What to do if you get a burn
Although by following fire and burn safety guidelines most home burns can be avoided, accidents do happen. Here are a few tips on what to do if you or your family member gets a burn:
Run the burn under cool or lukewarm water
To prevent the burn from spreading and gaining severity, run the affected spot under cool or lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes. Remove any wet clothing or jewelry from the site of the burn to avoid irritation.
Avoid using home remedies
Using home remedies, such as putting ice or using non-prescribed ointments on your wound can actually make the duration and intensity of the burn worse. Avoid self-treatment and stick to the guidance offered by medical professionals.
Call 911 or your medical provider
No matter the severity of the burn, it's always best if it can get checked out by a medical professional. Experts recommend calling your medical provider (or 911 in the case of potentially severe injuries) immediately after the accident so you can get the right treatment and avoid the burn from getting worse.
To help you can avoid burn injuries, the American Burn Association put together downloadable infographics that outline how you can prevent scalds, fire and contact burns. If you want to learn more about other types of burn injuries and how to prevent them, visit this ABA landing page to kick-off your research.
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