Recently in Tap Water and Scald Burns Category

November 27, 2014

Tap Water and Scald Burns (part III)

One of the most common causes of burn injuries is scald injury. Hot water scalds is a common cause of scald injury in which a short exposure time can result in severe burns depending on the water temperature. Most scald burns happen in the home from exposure to hot water in the sink, showers or bathtubs. Scald burns can also happen at restaurants and other places. Scald burns can happen to anyone, the severity depends on the temperature of the liquid and the duration of exposure.
Clinical features of scald burns:
Clinical features of scald burns depend on the severity of burn whether it's a first,second or third degree burn. Clinical features may include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Pain (may be absent in third degree burns as the nerves responsible for sensation may be destroyed)
  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Blisters (may develop in second degree burns)
  • Peeling if the skin in the affected area
  • White, stiff, waxy or charred skin (may happen in third degree burns)
Treatment:
  • Avoid panicking and remove the victim from the source of burn as soon as possible.
  • Cool the burned area immediately under running cool water for 10-30 minutes. Never use ice, any greasy substance or cream as this may lead to more damage
  • Seek medical assistanace
  • Keep the victim as comfortable as possible
  • Remove any watch, jewelry or clothing from the affected area; don't try to remove anything that is stuck to the burned area as this may lead to more damage
  • Cover the burned area with clean, non fluffy material to keep it clean and protect it from infection. Avoid breaking the blisters and avoid using adhesive dressings
  • Treat associated symptoms like shock
When to seek medical assistance:
  • When the victim is over 60 years of age or under 5 years of age
  • When the victim is pregnant
  • When there is pre-existing conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, compromised immune system
  • When the burn is large, deep, or if blistering is present
  • When the burn is located on the face, neck, hands, feet, joints, limbs, genital area, buttocks or around the upper body
  • When there is signs of infection which may include increase redness, increase pain, increase swelling, fever, foul odor discharge, pus, non healing wound after several weeks or there is new unexplained symptoms
  • When the victim has diffeculty breathing or has inhaled smoke or fumes

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.

November 25, 2014

Tap Water and Scald Burns (part II)

Hot water scalds can cause severe burn injuries leading to lengthy hospital stay that may result in scaring and permanent disfigurement or even death. As the majority of these scalds injuries happen at home it's important to follow certian measures that may prevent these types of burn injuries which are common in elderly, young children and people with disabilities.

Prevention of tap water scald injuries may include:

  • Setting water heater thermostats at a temperature not higher than 120°F (49°C), the safest water to bathe is about 100°F (37°C)
  • Educating parents and caregivers about the consequences and complications of hot water scald injuries
  • Constant adult supervision of young children, children with disabilities and elderly who have difficulty in removing themselves from hot water while in bath water or near facets.
  • Filling tub with cold water first then add hot water, check the temperature of sink or bath water before allowing children contact with it.
  • Don't bathroom tub unattended while it's filling and never leave older sibling with a younger one alone in bath water or near faucets
  • Facing children away from tap handles in a bathtub or sink while bathing them so that the child can't reach the handle and turning the handle to the cold position when not in use
  • Keeping bathroom door closed when not using it and not using it as a play area
  • In elderly and unsteady people install grab bars and non slip mats in the showers or tubs
  • If there is difficulty or a problem with standing unassisted than use a shower chair when showering or bathing.
  • Elderly and People who need assistance have to be provided with a way to call for help like a bell or a whistle in case of emergency
  • To prevent sudden fluctuations in water temperature while someone is showering avoid running water, flushing the toilet or using a machine that uses water
  • Installing a master thermostatic mixing valve at the water heater and thermostatic mixing valves in bathrooms
  • Installing an anti scald devices which are inexpensive, simple to install on most existing taps and can be found in pluming and hardware stores. These devices are heat sensitive and interrupt or stop the flow of water when its temperature reaches a predetermined temperature generally 110-114° but before reaching 120°F (49°C)
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.


November 20, 2014

Tap Water and Scald Burns (part I)

One of the most common causes of burn injuries is scald injury. Hot water scalds is a common cause of scald injury in which a short exposure time can result in severe burns depending on the water temperature. Most scald burns happen in the home from exposure to hot water in the sink, showers or bathtubs. Scald burns can also happen at restaurants and other places. Scald burns can happen to anyone, the severity depends on the temperature of the liquid and the duration of exposure.

Scald burns can happen to anyone but there is a vulnerable population which can be affected that includes young children, elderly people and people with disabilities. Many people are unaware that it needs a short exposure period to hot tap water to cause serious burns. People at high risk of developing scald burns are:

  • Young children have thinner skin, this results in deeper and more severe burns. Children have greater body proportion that is exposed to a scalding substance.
  • Elderly people have thinner skin leading to deeper and more severe burns. Elderly people may also have other medical conditions that make them more liable to fall in the bathtub as well as decreased sensation of heat and poor microcirculation leading to slow release of heat from the burned tissue.
  • People with physical and cognitive disabilities
  • Crowded families and families with low socioeconomic status
  • Single parent and parents with poor education.
As a standard, the maximum temperature of water delivered to the tap by residential water heaters is 120 degree Fahrenheit (48 degree Celsius).

Temperature/scald burn:

113°F (45°C) lead to second degree burn in 2 hours and third degree burn in 3 hours
116.6°F (47°C) lead to second degree burn in 20 minutes and third degree burn in 45 minutes
118.4°F (48°C) lead to second degree burn in 15 minutes and third degree burn in 20 minutes
120°F (49°C) lead to second degree burn in 8 minutes and third degree burn in 10 minutes
124°F (51°C) lead to second degree burn in 2 minutes and third degree burn in 4.2 minutes
131°F (55°C) lead to second degree burn in 17 seconds and third degree burn in 30 seconds
140°F (60°C) lead to second degree burn in 3 seconds and third degree burn in 5 seconds

Hot beverages like coffee and tea are usually served at 160-180°F (71-82°C) and can cause instant burns when falling on the skin, these burns will require surgery.

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.