Newswise — Burn injuries are the leading cause of unintentional death and injury in the United States.
In recognition of National Burn Awareness Week (February 4 – 10), Loyola Medicine and Anthony Baldea, MD, director of Loyola's Burn Center, are offering tips to prevent and care for burn injuries.
Loyola operates the largest burn center in Illinois and is a regional leader in burn care. Loyola's outstanding success rates and multidisciplinary approach are recognized by the American College of Surgeons and American Burn Association.
"Loyola Medicine takes care of some of the most difficult burn cases in the area," Dr. Baldea said. "During Burn Awareness Week, we take special pride in the care we are able to deliver our patients."
Reduce water temperature: Set the thermostat on your water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C).
Address outlets and electrical cords: Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps. Replace damaged electrical cords.
Kitchen safety: Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge and never use wet oven mitts or potholders. Hot cookware can heat moisture in a potholder or hot pad, resulting in a scald burn.
General fire safety: Never leave candles or open flames unattended. Put smoke alarms throughout the house and check the batteries.
If a burn injury does happen:
1) Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process
2) Remove all clothing and/or diaper from the injured area
3) Cover the area with a clean dry sheet or bandages
4) Seek medical attention
When to Seek Medical Attention
Treatment of burns depends on the location and severity of the injury. While some can be treated at home, people with severe burns often require treatment at specialized burn centers. You should seek medical attention when:
- Burns are covering hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, major joints or a large area of the body
- Burns are deep
- Burns are caused by chemicals or electricity
- Burns affect the airway, making it difficult to breathe
- Large blisters appear
- Signs of infection begin, such as oozing from the wound, increased pain, redness and swelling
- A burn or blister doesn't heal in several weeks