Medical City Healthcare - October 31, 2018

Let's face it. Once Halloween hits, it's a short trip from Thanksgiving to Christmas and then on through New Year's Day. There's a lot going on in a short amount of time. And so much of what we do during the holidays involves FIRE; including cooking vast amounts of food, burning scented candles like there's no tomorrow and lighting up fireplaces and fire pits as if the sun will never shine again. (It's Texas; it will.) This all makes the odds of getting burned or having an accidental home fire go through the roof.

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, with 241% more fires than an average day
  • Christmas ranks second (73% more fires)
  • Christmas Eve ranks third (66% more fires)

And those are just the fires that get called in. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that for every household cooking fire reported to the fire department, 50 go unreported.

You get the picture. We like our holidays and we like our fires. But we don't like getting burned, and we really don't like spending our precious time in the ER. So follow along and we'll give you tips for staying fire-safe and what to do if someone does get burned.

Avoid getting burned by knowing the facts.

Being aware of how fires start can help you take steps to prevent one from happening in your home or backyard.

  • Man your pan at all times: Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and burn injuries;
    • Texas leads the nation in deep-fried turkey fires; consider an oil-less electric version or read up on how to safely fry your bird
  • Roll up your sleeves: Nearly 20% of cooking fire deaths are caused when clothing ignites
  • Leave it to the professionals: 55% of reported non-fatal cooking fire injuries occur when people try to fight the fire themselves
  • Place fire pits, space heaters and candles on firm surfaces away from combustibles, children and pets: Locating a heat source close to flammable materials is the second leading cause of home fires
    • That goes for Christmas trees and holiday decorations as well: Fires from these result in twice the injuries and 5 times more fatalities per fire than the average winter holiday fire

Know what to do if someone gets burned.

The most important thing you can do when facing a burn injury is to not panic. Easier said than done, we know, but being able to recognize a major burn and having a plan will make it easier.

Go to the ER for a burn if there is:

  • Blistering, skin sloughing
  • No pain accompanied by pale, white skin
  • Damage to:
    • More than 1% of the body (see video below for how to tell)
    • Face
    • Hands
    • Feet
    • Joints
    • Genitals
  • Scalding from hot liquids (the leading cause of burns in children)

Treat a minor burn with:

  • Cool tap water
  • A sterile bandage to cover the wound
  • OTC medication for pain
  • A moisturizer, such as aloe vera gel

Always seek medical treatment for more severe burns and inhalation injuries

DO NOT treat a burn with:

  • Ice or ice water, which can cause further tissue damage
  • Homemade salves or ointments or anything suggested online
  • Butter or turmeric
  • Don't remove stuck-on clothing

We hope your holidays are merry and bright, but if things go up in smoke, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Revised 11/11/2019

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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