May 2010 Archives

May 31, 2010

How to Encourage Others

When meeting a burn survivor, there are things that everyone can do to encourage and support burn survivors by having the right approach. Offering a listening ear will help theses survivors know that you are there to listen to them and make them feel at ease. Sometimes all that a survivor needs is to feel that someone is there to listen to him/her. Avoid giving advice and listen until the survivor finishes what he/she wants to say. If you feel that the survivor doesn't want to talk now, don't push them.

In difficult circumstances, a person who has been exposed to trauma will appreciate the presence of friends and family. Sometimes the best gift you can give a patient is an encouraging word. By being there even for a few minutes trying to help and comfort that person, your support will not be forgotten. During these visits, avoid showing pity, feeling sorry or blaming the survivor for what has happened as your purpose of being there is to strengthen, encourage and guide that person to get through the hard times. Don't speak about your past trauma; make it about that person as this is the purpose of the visit.

May 28, 2010

Burn Camps in South Carolina

Camp 'Can' Do:

South Carolina

This camp is for children ages 6-17 who have been treated for a serious burn injury. These burn survivors will have a fun, safe and supportive environment where children will practice a variety of activities including boating and canoeing, arts and crafts, dance party and other activities. In this camp survivors will form new friends, share their experience which will help them heal the emotional scars, be inspired by other survivors and realize that everything can be done.

For more details see the website.

Phone number: 843-792-3852

May 27, 2010

Burn Camps in North Carolina

Camp Celebrate:

North Carolina

This camp provides educational, therapeutic and recreational experience for children who are current and former patients of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. Children in this camp will have the opportunity to learn, play, laugh, share their experience with other children who have been exposed to the same experience and engage in many activities. A year round project involving the efforts of many different people is what makes this camp continue and succeed.

For more details see the website.


May 26, 2010

Burn Camps in Michigan

Great Lakes Burn Camp:


This is a place where burn survivors' ages 7-17 meet, participate in different activities, share their stories and support each others. Many services are provided in this camp including well balanced meals, 24 hour medical supervision, transportation to and from camp and others.

For more details see the website.

Phone number: 1-800-989-2571

May 25, 2010

Burn Injuries and Relationships

After a burn injury, many survivors whether they are single, dating or married will start thinking about the effect of their injuries on different aspects of their lives. Intimacy, love and sexuality will concern many survivors. Dealing with scars and disfigurement varies among survivors, while disfiguring scaring in some survivors may not have a devastating influence on their lives; others with minor scars may not be able to live a rewarding live and may be devastated for a long time. Some survivors will isolate themselves from the community because of their scars, others think that it's hard to be loved and have an intimate relationship. Married survivors may fear the loss of their partners due to their scars. Survivors of burn injuries, no matter how severe their scarring, must always try to find positive meaning in their experience and try to find the good things that came out of that experience. They should focus on things that they can do and not things that they can't do.

Dennis J. Stouffer states in his book Journeys Through Hell that with virtually all the survivors who were interviewed, where there was minimally one lesion, they left the hospital knowing that they survived something they never imagined they could have survived. Except those who were burned as children, all survivors discovered that they were stronger than they thought they were. They were surprised by their endurance. That endurance to each patient represented fortitude and strength which none had anticipated.

Despite the fact that survivors differ with respect to their reaction to their injury, support from family and friends played a role in helping survivors adjust to their new life. Isolation will not do any good, instead being proactive in social situations, having confidence, trying to take a role in the society and making new friends will all help survivors return back to their normal life.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 24, 2010

Survivor Story

From the book I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry white.

Survivor x lost his right leg while stepping on a landmine. This trauma made him wonder how he was going to work and feed his wife and child. He had to move with his parents as his family had no home. As a result of the accident, he avoided his family, went into severe depression and drank heavily. One day this survivor met another amputee who told him that he has to return back to his normal life taking responsibility and support his family. For the survivor this was overwhelming but his friend insisted that he should do it, the survivor was encouraged and found the support and the willingness with other amputees. It took over a year, but step by step attending meetings and joining survivor support groups, the results were encouraging. With his determination and planning he started a business by building a greenhouse with a thriving tomato business and because of his honesty and hard work, his produce was sold quickly as people lined up to buy them.

He says "Thanks to the support from my community, my family has a strong husband and father again, and with my new business, our future is no longer uncertain".

The survivor didn't stop at that but plans to build a second greenhouse and hire other survivors to work there. He describes becoming a benefactor after being a beneficiary by helping others who are in need, as an incredible moment for him, when he donated 200 Kilograms of fresh tomatoes to a local orphanage. He also helps his neighbors in need by giving out produce.

May 21, 2010

Survivor Story

From the book I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White.

Survivor X was seventeen years old, on his way to work in a civil war country when he stepped on a mine leading him to the loss of both of his legs. He thought it was a dream. At the time of the explosion he tried to kill himself with an explosive lying on the ground near him but it didn't explode. He was desperate to die as he took a gun from one of the soldiers who arrived after the explosion and begged him to kill him. Recovery was very difficult, both physically and mentally. He was able to survive with the support of his family. Of great import to him, was meeting other disabled persons. He saw how they lived their lives. It made him really happy to see people in wheelchairs playing sports in the hospital.

Although it was a long journey he was very happy and excited about many aspects of his life. He has a wife, children, a family, parents and siblings and a lot of friends.

Helping others was very satisfying for him. Seeing other survivors arrive at the hospital and speaking to them, telling them his experience and how he survived, gave them hope and encouragement. The next time he saw or visited them, they would be expressing different faces of joy and survival "That joy is something that cannot be compared to anything. Wow. I am part of making another person happy".

Each survivor can be a source of encouragement to others, but first he/she has to find the power and courage to continue the journey to the end in order to be able to help others.

May 20, 2010

Cultural Shock And Cultural Sensitivity

When patients and their families first arrive to the hospital after a burn injury, they may experience some level of cultural shock and cultural sensitivity even when they are from the same community.

These cultural differences may be stressful to the patients and their families and may limit their ability to participate in the healing process. The staff of the burn team is usually trained to handle these situations and can help with meeting the cultural, spiritual and religious needs of the patient and his/her family. When a treatment plan is made for the patient, cultural traditions can be addressed and incorporated into the plan to facilitate the healing process.

If you or your family has any questions or any concerns regarding a cultural issue, you should speak with the staff as they are there to help you and your family.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 19, 2010

Burn Survivors Support Groups

A burn injury is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through. Support groups can be helpful for many survivors. Meeting others who have experienced the same trauma may help survivors adjust to their new lives knowing that they are not alone. In these groups, members can discuss anything that concerns them or even just listen to others. Burn survivors during these meeting can share their burn related experiences and can provide support and encouragement to each other. They may discuss their fears of returning to society, the reactions of others to their scars, returning to work, intimate relationships, etc.

Various activities can be organized through the support group such as get together, sport events, educational conferences, charity work and others activities. Anyone can attend the support group meetings (family members, friends). Burn staff can also participate in these activities while reuniting with patients that they treated.

Burn survivor groups can visit other burn patients in the hospital giving them support and encouragement.

Burn survivors are encouraged to attend these support groups as early as they can. This will help them adjust to the different stages of recovery.

For children who survive burns, support groups are a great resource where they can share their stories and feelings, socialize with other children who were exposed to the same trauma, and understand that there is hope.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 18, 2010

Burn Camps in California

Little Heroes Preschool Burn Camp:


This camp provides preschool burn survivors ages 3-6 and their caregiver(s) with a unique three day program that helps both survivors and their families. While helping the survivors with their recovery both physically and emotionally, parents and caregivers will be provided with a program that helps them in taking care of and nurturing these children who were exposed to the burn injury.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 916-739-8525

May 17, 2010

Burn Camps in California

Champ Camp:


This camp provides services for burn survivors age 5-16, it's a weeklong residential summer camp in which survivors can share their experiences with others who have been exposed to the same trauma as well as participating in various activities and have fun which will make them feel at ease and forget about their scars.

For more details see the website.

Phone number: 888-492-2876/ 559-224-7223.

May 14, 2010

Burn Camps in California

Firefighters Kids Camp:


In Firefighters Kids Camp, children who have had serious burn injuries will have the opportunity to continue their rehabilitation and recovery process in an outdoor environment through this camp. Kids will participate in various activities such as boating, swimming, biking, rock climbing and much more. This camp will have a long lasting impact on these children's life and will provide an environment for these children to interact with other children having the same challenges making them know that they are not the only ones with this injury. Many individuals generously volunteer their time and talents to staff this camp. Northern California Fire Departments conduct fundraisers throughout the year to cover the camp expenses which is over $60,000. Firefighters make-up the majority of the camp staff.

For more information about the camp see the website.

Phone number: 916-739-8525


May 13, 2010

University Hospital Burn Center

State University of New York at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY 11794-0001 United States


The stony Brook University Burn Center is one the centers specialized in providing comprehensive treatment for both pediatric and adult burn patients. The burn team is trained to provide the patient with expert care throughout his/her stay.

May 12, 2010

The Effect of Smoking on the Skin

Smoking has many harmful effects on the body and health among which is the effect of smoking on the skin. The effects of smoking include:

  • Wrinkles and early skin aging: smoking can cause wrinkles; lines can be seen radiating from the corner of the lips and the eyes. These lines around the mouth are called smoker's lines and are due to constant puffing on cigarettes as the smoker smokes. The lines around the eyes are called crow's feet and result from closing the eye tightly to avoid smoke from entering the eyes. Reduction of the blood supply to the skin as a result of blood vessel construction due to smoking leads to poor circulation of the skin and decreases oxygen resulting in early aging of the skin. Changes in elastic fibers and collagen loss also play a role in early aging of the skin. Smoking causes a reduction in the level of vitamin A leading to dryness and a reduction in the moisture of the skin resulting in premature aging. Smoking can cause dryness of the skin due to the effect of chemicals in smoke leading to decreased water content and moisture of the skin. Free radicals also play a role in premature aging of skin; increased levels of carbon monoxide in the blood as a result of smoking will encourage their formation, they play a role in early aging of skin.
  • Smoking leads to unwanted effects including the staining of teeth, bad breath, and the loss of taste sensation. Smoking also increases the risk of certain oral diseases such as a fungal infection known as Oral Candidiasis and other diseases.
  • Wound healing: smoking delays wound healing including wounds on the skin. The cause of delayed wound healing may include the reduction of oxygen supply as a result of blood vessels narrowing, decreased vitamin C as a result of smoking and a decrease in collagen synthesis.
  • Increased risk of cancer: smokers have increased risk of skin cancer (melanoma and squamous cell cancer) of the skin. Smokers also have increased risk of oral cancers and oral precancerous conditions.
  • Smokers have increased risk of developing Psoriasis more than non smokers.
Smoking has many other damaging effects on health such as lung diseases, heart diseases and many others. To avoid these effects, smokers should stop smoking. It may be hard in the beginning but it's worth it to decrease the hazardous effects of smoking.

Ask your physician for help regarding methods for quitting smoking and seek other help resources for quitting smoking. Many nicotine replacement products are available to help you quit smoking.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 11, 2010

The Effect of Stress on the Skin.

Stress can affect the body in many ways regardless of the cause of stress. One of the effects of stress is on the skin. The following effects on stress include:

  • Stress causes an increased release of certain hormones. These hormones will cause an increase in the production of sebum (oil) and this will lead to oily skin. The increased production of sebum will also increase the risk of acne formation.
  • Effect of stress on the nails: stress can affect the nail in the way that some people when stressed they pick their nails, others bite their nails in reaction to stress.
  • Effect of stress on the hair: stress can cause hair loss; this hair loss is of two types. The first one is called Telogen effluvium in which the hair will stop growing and stay dormant for two to three months it will then fall out. Hair will grow again within six to nine months. The other type of hair loss that can happen after stress is called alopecia areata in which immune cells attack the hair follicle causing destruction of the hair follicle and the loss of hair. This type can affect the scalp in which the whole scalp hair may be lost and may also affect other hairy parts of the body. Hair loss usually happens in groups (patches) and usually within weeks after the stressful event. Hair may grow on its own but medical treatment is usually needed.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 10, 2010

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a common skin condition that can affect anyone at any age. There are many causes of dry skin ranging from environmental factors to pathological diseases that can present with dry skin.

Causes include:

  • Part of the aging process in which dryness of the skin happens due to decreased oil production by the oil glands.
  • Environmental factors: exposure to hot or cold weather especially when there is low humidity.
  • Showering or bathing excessively in hot water.
  • Some soaps and detergents and clothes may lead to dry skin.
  • Central heating and air conditioning may contribute to dry skin.
  • Pathological conditions such as in hypothyroidism (decrease function of the thyroid gland), diabetes and others.
  • Certain drugs may cause dry skin.
  • Inherited disorder.

Features of dry skin:

  • Itchy, dry, and irritated.
  • Red and painful.
  • Scaling, eczematous or fissuring.
  • Bleeding from the fissures.

Treatment includes:

  • Use emollients, moisturizing creams or ointments that don't contain alcohol.
  • Try to recognize and avoid factors that precipitate skin dryness.
  • Using showers is better than baths, using warm water instead of hot water.
  • Use skin cleansers that are mild and don't contain soap.
  • Keeping the body hydrated (drink water).
  • Avoid irritants that may worsen the symptoms.
  • In winter, wear protective clothes such as hats and gloves to protect the skin.
  • Medications may be prescribed in some cases such as topical steroids.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

May 7, 2010

Keeping the Skin Healthy

The skin is like a mirror of the person and one of the first things that attracts the attention of others, it's important to take care of the skin and keep it healthy.

  • Drinking enough water will keep the skin hydrated, smooth and delicate.
  • Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to the skin as well as other organs in the body. Antioxidants neutralize the effect of these free radicals. Vitamin A, C and E have an antioxidant activity. Antioxidant can be found in vegetables and fruits. Black grapes and blueberries are example of fruits with antioxidants.
  • UV light can have a harmful effect on the skin such as sunburns and skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen is important to protect the skin from the effect of sunlight and to protect it from premature aging.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids help in preventing wrinkles and premature aging as well as other benefits for the skin. Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids include fish like salmon and sardines.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
May 6, 2010

Burn Camps in Connecticut

Connecticut Burn Care Foundation - Burn Camp:


This camp was opened in 1991 after President Arthur C. Luf's planning and dedication for many years making it a reality. The Arthur C. Luf Children's Burn Camp is set on 176 acres with its own pond for swimming and boating, a beautiful setting in the woods of Connecticut. Many activities including fishing, boating, hiking and others are practiced in this camp. The camp team counselors are helped by firefighters, medical personnel, caring people and burn survivors, all work as volunteers.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 203-878-6744/ 1-888-40-BURNS

May 5, 2010

The Firefighter's Uniform

Firefighters risk their lives daily to save our lives and properties. They face many hazards including the exposure to fire and therefore they need a protective uniform to help them perform their job. The uniform is composed of:


Firefighters wear a helmet to protect their heads from fire and from any falling things like debris. The helmet is made of Kevlar which is a very hard plastic. Helmets are equipped with a face shield. The color, number and wording on the helmet identify the rank, department and the fire company. A torch or a helmet light may be used by the firefighters in dark places, at night or to help them keep in contact with each others.

Jacket and trousers:

They are made up of NOMEX which is strong, light and easy to wear. The clothes are fire proof. They are called turnouts. The trousers are turned inside out and the boots are attached to it, in case of an emergency, the firefighter quickly jumps into the boots and pull the trousers up, these trousers have snaps and Velcro, they also have side pockets to put equipment, gloves and other things that the firefighter needs. These trousers have reflective stripes so that firefighters can be seen at night.


They are thick gloves made of fire resistant material that protect the hands of the firefighters from heat and from sharp objects like broken glass.


Firefighter's boots are made of rubber material. These boots have a steal toe covering to protect the toes of the firefighters; the shank in the sole is very thick and made of steel to protect the firefighters if they step on sharp objects such as nails. The boots have rubber handles at the top in order to help the firefighter pull the boots on very quickly.

Self contained breathing apparatus:

It is a cylinder filled with air carried on the back of the firefighter and made of fire resistant material. This cylinder is attached to a tube that runs to a rubber facemask twitch allows the firefighter to breath fresh air in cases where there is hazardous materials in the environment such as toxic gases and smoke.

May 4, 2010

Cyanide Poisoning

Cyanide is a toxic chemical substance that is found in a gas or a salt form. The gaseous form is colorless with a bitter almonds odor. Cyanide can be ingested by mouth, inhaled or absorbed by the skin.

Cyanide is used in the synthesis of some plastic items; it can be used in cleaning metal as well as in other industrial or laboratory settings. Cyanide is also naturally present in some pits and seeds of fruits such as apricots and almonds but it's in a small amount. Nitroprusside is a drug that may lead to cyanide toxicity if it's given in an improper dose. During a house fire, cyanide gas is produced due to the combustion of common household materials. Inhalation of cyanide leads to cyanide poisoning. Cyanide can be used in chemical warfare and poisoning.

Cyanide simply works by decreasing the oxygen content of the blood by causing a chemical change that prevent oxygen from getting into the hemoglobin of the red blood cell and this will lead to tissue hypoxia.

Signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning:

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Faintness.
  • Flushing.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bitter almond smell
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Weakness.
  • Fainting.
  • Confusion.
Poisoning with large amount of cyanide may lead to:
  • Convulsions.
  • Paralysis.
  • Coma (loss of consciousness).
  • Shock.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Respiratory arrest (stop breathing).
  • Cardiovascular collapse.
  • Death


Diagnosis will depend on the history of exposure to cyanide and the symptoms of the patient if they are present.


  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • The success of the treatment depends on the time between the exposure and treatment and on the concentration of the exposure.
  • Move away from the area where cyanide gas is present to an area with fresh air.
  • Don't induce vomiting if cyanide has been swollen.
  • The antidote for cyanide is the administration of amylnitrate followed by the administration of sodium thiosulfate. A new approved antidote is Hydroxocobalamin.
  • Treatment in the hospital will depend on the condition of the patient including airway management, oxygen supplementation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intravenous fluids and other medications depending on the situation.
  • In cases where poisoning was due to Nitroprusside (antihypertensive drug) in a hospital then the drug should be discontinued.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
May 3, 2010

Amputations and Burns

Burns may lead to various effects on the body depending on the type and severity of the burn. Amputation may be one of the results of severe burns, although it is not common, it can happen. Amputation may have to be done in extensive burns due to the loss of blood supply or destruction of that body part. Amputation of fingers is more common than amputation of part of the limbs. High voltage electrical burns lead to injury not only to the skin but also to the underlying tissues and this can necessitate amputation. Despite the emotional and physical effect of the amputation on burn survivors, many survivors will adjust to their new circumstance and lead a productive life.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.