Summer is around the corner and many people are gearing up for backyard barbecues and Fourth of July festivities all over the country. Sadly, the advent of summer also heralds dozens of people being taken into hospital emergency rooms due to burn injuries.
The numbers don’t lie: The American Burn Association reports that annually, around 450,000 patients receive emergency room treatment due to burns. The numbers don’t account for burn injuries treated in private medical offices, hospital clinics, or even community health centers. Each year, there are also around 3,000 patients who die due to burn injuries. These are staggering numbers, making burns and fire the third leading cause of home deaths.
During summer each year, many people get severe burns due to illegal fireworks displays and improper use of the backyard grill. According to statistics, there are about 10,000 Americans, mostly children, who get burned from fireworks. In fact, around June and July each year, fire officials start issuing a fact sheet with information on what to do in case a burn injury occurs during summer celebrations.
What are Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries vary in severity from damage to layers of the skin to tissue damage, including fat and muscle tissues. Deeper burn injuries may also damage bone tissues. It is often the result of exposure to fire or flame, heat from an explosion, prolonged contact with a very hot surface, contact with hot liquids or hot grease, or chemical and electrical contact. The most common causes of burns are domestic occurrences such as scalding from hot liquid or steam, flammable liquids and gases, and building fires.
Burns are serious, life-altering injuries. They cause unbearable pain and even disfigured bodies. There are four degrees of burn injuries, the mildest one being first-degree burns to deeper, fourth-degree burns.
Serious Burn Injuries
Serious burn injuries can harm the skin permanently. Due to the seriousness and extent of injuries, medical bills are substantial and costly.
The worst thing is if a serious burn injury occurs as a result of somebody else’s negligence. In cases like these, the victim needs the help of a burn injury lawyer. If a burn injury is the result of someone else’s carelessness, the wounded person is liable to sue for damages. Since a burn falls under catastrophic injuries, a burn settlement amount is dependent on several factors such as the extent to which the other party can pay damages and the severity of the injury. Doctors determine burn severity through factors such as depth of the burn, the size of the affected area, the location of the burn, age of the person, and other health issues.
Burn Prevention Tips
Most burn injuries are preventable. Since campfires, barbecues, and fireworks are the most common activities during summer and cause very serious burns, here are some tips to prevent burns around them:
- Keep everyone, especially children, at a safe distance from campfires. It is a good idea to draw a tangible safety circle around the fire that everyone must not cross over.
- Do not let younger children play with sparklers or light fireworks on fire. Older children should use sparklers with adult supervision.
- Leave fireworks to the professionals. It is much better to watch from a safe distance and enjoy the spectacular display.
- When cooking with hot oil or a deep fryer, keep everyone, especially children, at a safe distance.
- Point and hold all sparklers away from the body.
- Check smoke detector batteries and clean smoke detectors often.
- Before using barbecues or grills, make sure that they are clean. Use lighter fluid sparingly.
- When done using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to cool before pouring water.
- Always use a BBQ grill outdoors.
- Make sure that you open the frill cover before turning on the gas.
- Make sure that harmful chemicals and cleaners are stored in an area where children can’t access them.
- Discard smoking materials in the proper receptacles.