You probably spend a lot of time teaching your children to be careful around burn hazards, such as hot objects, and take precautions to prevent suffering burns while you are cooking. You make sure to keep space heaters away from the curtains, and do not let your children run around the fire pit. You feel like you have most of your bases covered, and you and your family are relatively safe from burn injuries.
Some burn dangers, however, are hiding in plain sight. With everyday burn hazards, adults often become complacent and forget just how much damage they can do. This leaves both adults and children at an increased risk for burn injuries.
When you are working with any of these often overlooked burn hazards, it is important to remember the dangers and remain cautious. This is the best way to protect your health and wellbeing and prevent burn injuries.
Scald burns, like those caused by steam, are among the most common types of serious burns in the U.S. More than half a million people suffer scalds each year, according to The Burn Foundation. Scalds are the most common burn injury for children under the age of four, but adults can suffer scald injuries just as often, especially when opening packets from the microwave or checking a pot on the stove.
Preventing steam burns typically requires little more than remembering to use caution when reaching over a pot on the stove, carefully handling boiling water, and opening packages after microwaving. Use heat-resistant gloves and keep your hands and face away from escaping steam when opening microwaved food.
Bleach has noxious fumes, but did you know it can also cause chemical burns on your skin? Even with short exposure, bleach can cause dangerous side effects, including:
- Irritation and burning of the skin
- Redness or white spots on the exposed areas
- Extreme pain or numbness
- Loss of vision, if eye exposure
Chemical burns from bleach can occur in a number of ways, including direct exposure while cleaning the home or when using hair bleach at the salon. Spills are another common of bleach burns.
You can reduce your risk of burns from bleach and other cleaning agents by diluting bleach with water (ten parts water to one part bleach) before cleaning, always wearing gloves while using bleach, and never mixing bleach with other cleaning agents.
If bleach does get on your skin, flush the area immediately with cool running water; do this for about 15 minutes. This is critical in order to limit the layers of skin affected by the burn and to help prevent further damage.
You are, no doubt, aware that exposure to the sun can cause painful sunburns, and lead to blistering and peeling skin. However, many people are quick to write off sunburns as less serious than other types of burns. This is a mistake, though. Sunburns are a type of radiation burn caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
Sunburn causes lasting damage to the skin. It not only speeds up aging, but also increases your risk of developing skin cancer later in life. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, suffering just five sunburns during childhood doubles your risk of developing melanoma, one of the most deadly types of cancer.
To prevent skin damage from sun exposure:
- Avoid the midday sun
- Wear at least 15 SPF sunscreen at all times (even when it is cloudy)
- If you are at the beach or the pool, be sure to reapply your sunscreen often as water strengthens the sun’s UV rays
- Wear a hat, long sleeves, and long pants to protect exposed skin
What do I do after a burn?
Unfortunately, severe burn injuries happen every day — especially those caused by overlooked hazards like steam, bleach, and the sun. If you suffered serious burn injuries, call Burn Victims Resource for help finding a lawyer to help with your legal case.