Burns from hot liquids and steam are referred to as scalds, and they cause more burns each year than flames. Over half a million people a year sustain scald burns, mostly from hot tap water and from incidents in the kitchen, according to the Burn Foundation. And just because there is no fire involved does not mean the steam and hot liquid cannot cause devastating, painful injuries. When the water is hot enough, it can cause full thickness third-degree burn injuries, just like a flame, chemical, or electrical current can. 

How do hot liquid burns usually occur?

Water that reaches 140 degrees can cause a third-degree burn in a mere five seconds, according to the Burn Foundation. In addition to running tap water, some of the primary sources of scalds in the home include coffee, tea, and soup.

Young children who do not fully understand the dangers of hot tap water, as well as older adults are particularly susceptible to scald burns. People who work in restaurants are also at risk; they are constantly susceptible to hazards that can lead to scald burns:

  • Slipping, tripping, and knocking over hot liquids.
  • Carrying huge pots or vats of hot liquids.
  • Splashes and spills when cooking.
  • Using pressurized steam cookers.
  • Working with deep fryers.

What are the effects of a scald burn?

Minor first-degree scalds heal within days to several weeks. More serious scald burns can be long-term and traumatizing.

  • Infection riskSecond- and third-degree burns are susceptible to infection. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics and should advise patients regarding proper wound care to prevent infection.
  • Surgery – Your doctor will treat your burn injuries according to their severity. In cases of serious burns, a doctor may order skin graft surgery.
  • Deeper damage – If the damage is deep enough, a scald burn could even damage underlying muscles and nerves.
  • Pain – Not only is a scald intensely painful initially, but chronic pain is an ongoing issue for a lot of burn victims. A good pain management program can help.
  • Psychological – Burns can have serious emotional and psychological effects that can stick with the victim forever. If scarring is present, particularly on the hands and face, it can lead to long-term self-esteem and social anxiety issues.
  • Financial – The medical bills for serious scald burn injuries (hospitalization, prescriptions, surgeries, therapy, follow-ups, etc.) cause stress and financial strain for many families. Plus, workers who sustained serious burns must take time off to heal from their injuries, which can cause additional strain.

Is there anything else I should know about scald burns?

The Burn Foundation notes that 100 percent of hot water burns are preventable. Exercising caution and using basic safety measures can go a long way to prevent serious injuries.

If you were being careful, but you were still burned, it might be a good idea to explore your legal options. For instance, if you have been burned on the job, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Or if a waitress spilled a bowl of boiling hot soup on you, you might be able to file an injury claim against the restaurant. You can speak to a lawyer in more detail about your options.

Call us today at 844-549-8774 to speak with a lawyer referral specialist who can help you find a lawyer to answer your questions and help you pursue compensation.