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Know Your Burn Risks This Summer

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jul 18th 2020

new article illustration

SATURDAY, July 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Grilling. Campfires. Fireworks. All are part of summer's pleasures -- but they also pose burn risks.

A new survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 53% mistakenly think their burn risk is lower than it actually is.

Only 11% knew that injuries from the flames of a fire pit or grill are the most common burn injuries, according to the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health/Ipsos survey.

"Burn injuries increase in the summer months, as more people are grilling outside, sitting around fire pits, and setting off fireworks," said Dr. Kevin Foster, director of burn services for the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix.

"It's important for people to be aware of not only their risk for suffering from a burn injury, but what to do if they or a loved one experience a burn," Foster added in a center news release.

Most of the respondents didn't know that applying ice to a burn isn't recommended because it can increase the risk of tissue damage.

Nearly six in 10 either thought you should immediately apply ice directly to a burn (39%) or didn't know whether it is correct to do so (18%).

Four in 10 respondents said they will use their own fireworks or sparklers this summer, which puts people at risk for serious burns.

Children are particularly at risk for burns because the survey found that parents are more likely than the general population to say they'll be around fire hazards, including fireworks (65.8% vs. 40%), and fire pits or campfires (65% vs. 50%).

Of the parents planning to use or be around fireworks, half said they don't know much or anything at all about burn injuries and treatments.

Seven in 10 respondents said they're planning to grill this summer, but 1 in 4 mistakenly thought that water is the best way to put out a grill fire.

"Burns are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in children, so the lack of knowledge that Americans demonstrate around burn injuries is concerning," Foster said.

"People need to be aware of the dangers, even with something as common as grilling, so that they are prepared to react appropriately and safely in an emergency," he said. "I encourage anyone planning to grill or use a fire pit or fireworks this summer to review basic safety measures for these activities and understand what to do if someone experiences a burn."

More information

The Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department has more on summer fire safety.