This past Sunday, fans of the popular TV show This Is Us saw an especially heartbreaking episode. While the show is known for tugging at the heartstrings throughout each episode, this one took the cake. Keeping spoilers to a minimum, the family of main characters lost their home to a house fire. One character, in particular, experienced severe burns and other fire-related injuries. While this tragic tale had many pulling out their tissues, it brought to light a major issue. Almost half a million people are treated for burns every single year, with over 70,000 spending time in a hospital or burn center. With that said, this week is Burn Awareness Week, which is designed to bring awareness to fire-related injuries, especially burns. Below are just a few reasons why it’s important to celebrate this awareness week.
The Importance of Burn Awareness Week
Probably the easiest place to start when discussing the importance of burn awareness week is the prevention of burns. Tragically, children and the disabled are especially vulnerable to burn injuries. Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15. This is why burn safety and burn awareness is especially vital when dealing with children. Some child-safety tips include always checking bath water before your child takes a bath and always monitoring boiling water on a stove top. You should also keep things like matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
Another major aspect of burn awareness week is making sure you and your patients know the proper equipment to have in case of a fire. More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms were present at all. Another 23 percent of deaths are caused by fires that start in homes where smoke alarms are present but fail to operate. Smoke alarms are crucial when it comes to fire-prevention, so make sure you’re keeping fresh batteries in all your alarms. You should have at least one or two alarms on every floor of the house. It’s also a good idea that you keep a fire extinguisher in the house as well. Fire extinguishers put out smaller fires and everyone in the house should know how to use them.
You should also let patients know about oil and grease fires. While common sense tells us to douse a fire with water, this is not always the case. Fires that start with oil or grease need to be suffocated. Pouring wanter onto the flames will only feed the fire.
Burn treatment usually depends on the severity of the burn. For the majority of burns, it is strongly advised to seek immediate medical assistance. However, for superficial burns that do not exceed three inches in diameter, the victim may be reasonably capable of treating the burn from home. If a burn appears minor, Treat it with cool water; don’t use grease, butter, ointments, lotions or fats, because they can make the burn worse. If the burn begins to blister, it’s probably time to see a medical professional. A doctor may treat these burns with ointment and wrap the wound in a bandage.
For more serious burns, surgery may be required. This can include skin grafts and other procedures to help treat major burns. If the burn is severe, it’s recommended that a burn specialist is involved.
Burns and fire-related injuries are a more common than people think. This is why burn awareness week is a great time to ensure that both you and your patients have the proper education when it comes to burns. What are some burn tips you’d like to provide? Leave a comment below!