We spend a lot of time in our homes and they are typically teeming with potential burn hazards, so it is little wonder a burn injury in the home is very common. In fact, nearly three-quarters of all burns between 2003 and 2012 that were serious enough to warrant medical attention in a burn center occurred in the home, according to the American Burn Association.
However, nearly all household burn incidents are completely preventable. Staying mindful of hazards and taking basic safety precautions can do a world of good in preventing burn injuries. If, despite being careful, an accident does occur at home and you or your child suffers a burn, you should know how to treat minor injuries, when to seek medical attention, and what legal options you might have.
What are the most common causes of burn injuries at home?
Look around your home and you will likely notice that there are tons of potential dangers for burn injuries. Below are just a few primary sources of burn injuries in the home.
- Hot liquids – Coffee, soup, boiling water, and even hot tap water are major sources of scald injuries at home.
- Electrical items – Cords and outlets can cause shock and electrical burns. Appliances can also short and lead to a burn injury.
- Chemicals – Household cleaners, garden pesticides, and automotive items in the home and garage can all cause chemical burns.
- Fire – Most homes have fire hazards like candles, space heaters, and lighters. Wearing loose clothing around fires and leaving a flame unattended is a huge culprit that causes flame burns.
How do I treat a burn injury that occurs at home?
The first thing to do if you or your loved one sustains a burn injury is to assess the damage. If the burn is a minor first-degree burn, at-home remedies may suffice. You can run the burn under cool tap water for 10 to 20 minutes to relieve the pain, and then treat it with a burn ointment. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary, too.
Note: You do not need to bandage minor burns that do not blister; letting them air out is better.
If the burn is more serious, and especially if the cause was an electrical or chemical source, seek out professional medical help. The doctors will determine the severity of the burn, i.e., second-, third-, or fourth-degree burn, and treat it accordingly.
In serious cases, other injuries may accompany the burn itself, such as damage to organs, muscles, and nerves. Infection is a common risk of more serious third- and fourth-degree burns.
Burn injuries may require hospitalization, a pain management program, and skin graft surgeries to close the wounds.
What should I know about the aftermath of a burn injury?
Minor burns generally heal on their own and have no long-term consequences. More serious burns, on the other hand, can lead to not only physical complications, but emotional and psychological damage. The emotional harm stems from the trauma of the accident and the injury, and from the scars and disfigurement that often result. Be prepared for these types of effects and seek out professional counseling and burn trauma support services if need be.
You might also want to look into your legal options after a burn injury to determine if you qualify for compensation, as the financial effects of a burn injury can be significant. Patients may get extensive medical bills, be forced out of work for long periods, and suffer other damages. If the burn was not your fault (e.g., a defective smoke alarm or a product that lacked adequate warnings), you might be able to recover compensation.
Our lawyer referral specialists can help you find a lawyer to answer your legal questions and represent you when filing a claim or lawsuit, so call today: 844-549-8774.