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Format: 04/25/2014
Format: 04/25/2014

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Burns call for special attention

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Dear Doctor: Burns call for special attention
Ariel Aballay, M.D., Burn Specialist
 

Question: What can I do to prevent burn accidents and what should I do if my children or I ever get burned?

Answer: Accidents happen regardless of how careful we are. Certain injuries, however, can be prevented. First, never leave children unsupervised in the kitchen while cooking or during their bath time. Young children can easily pull hot liquids or pots on top of them. Children can also accidentally turn on the hot water while in the tub. Fireplaces, grills, space heaters and food from the microwave are other common causes of burns among children.

If a pot or pan catches on fire while cooking put the lid on to put out the fire. Do not carry burning pots or pans outside since doing so frequently results in burn injuries. Pouring cold water on the burning pot or pan can also spread the fire. And never use gasoline when trying to start a fire. This usually leads to an explosion and burn injuries.

If you do get burned, rinse the wound with cool water. Cover the wound with a dry towel and go to a local emergency room or doctor's office. Do not put ice, toothpaste or any other home remedies on the wound. Chemical burns should be rinsed for at least 30 minutes to completely remove the chemical. If the chemical is a powder, it should be brushed off from the skin first and then rinsed.

Even if your burn doesn't hurt, it is important to seek medical attention. Third-degree burns (the deepest ones) are notorious for not causing any pain due to the injury caused to nerve endings. Without proper care these burns can become infected, lead to severe scarring or even compromise the function of that part of the body.

Burns can worsen without proper care, leading to severe consequences to the patient. The American Burn Association recommends that certain burns be evaluated by burn specialists to guarantee the best possible outcome. Examples of such burns include those to the face, hands, feet and major joints, electrical burns, chemical burns, burns in children, and patients with certain diseases, including diabetes.

 

 

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