Scalding is a form of thermal burn that is caused when a person comes in contact with hot liquids or steam. However, scalds are generally first and second-degree burns but a prolonged contact with hot liquids can also cause third-degree burns. These burns are not only painful but also destroy the cells of the affected area. Along with this, in the most severe cases, these burns can also result in death. High-temperature tap water for bathing and drinking can also cause scalds.
When it comes to children, scalds are the most common form of injury that occurs to them. It has been said that the water for a child’s bath should not have more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit; otherwise it can cause a third degree burn to a child. Moreover, adults above 65 years of age are more likely to suffer from scalds. Given below are some steps that you can take to prevent scalding injuries:
It has been observed that more than half of the burns take place in the kitchen.
- While cooking in the kitchen, you should make sure that you do not leave the kitchen giving an opportunity to your child to come in and try exploring things.
- There should be no tablecloth on the table or in the kitchen as the child can get hold of it and drag it down. This can result in spilling of hot liquids or food on him/her.
- Avoid working in a kitchen and carrying hot utensils or food when carrying a child or playing with him/her.
- When cooking, use oven mitts over a towel to handle hot pans because a towel can catch fire due to its length while you cook.
- Avoid wearing long and loose sleeve clothing while cooking. Also, when you are sleepy or unwell, you should opt for ‘No Cooking’.
- Stir the food properly in a bowl so that the heat spreads and vaporize a little.
- Keep your child and yourself away from the steam from a hot water kettle, a hot chapatti and a pressure cooker placed over the stove.
- For a microwave, only use containers that are specially designed for it and let the food cool for a minute or two before taking it out of the microwave.
- Never leave a child unattended in a bathroom with a geyser on or hot water in the tub.
- Check the temperature of water using your elbow prior to giving a bath to your baby. It should not be more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You can also choose to install anti-scald devices in shower heads and water faucets to avoid any unintentional scald injury. Also known as ‘Temperature Activated Flow Reducer,’ it ensures that everyone taking a bath is showered with comfort.
- Avoid placing hand dryers in your home.
- Keep things like lighters, match boxes, burning candles or any other objects with a hot surface, away from a child.
- During winters, keep the heater away from the reach of your child or keep them attended whenever the heater is on.
- Make sure that you keep inflammable substances like paper, clothing, and wood away from the fireplace. Or make sure that they are not accessible to your child when the fireplace is lightened.
- Special attention needs to be given to your child during festivals like Diwali.
- Along with the above advice and suggestions to prevent a scald injury, you should also make sure a fire extinguisher in your home and car is easily accessible.
- If there is a smoker in your home, ensure that he/she smoke out of the house.
- Ensure that no electric appliance comes in contact with water.
- Keep flammable substances away from the electric wires.
- Get the appliance serviced or do not use it if it smells while it is turned on.
For the times when you miss any of the things mentioned above:
Sometimes, it gets too late to prevent a scald or a burn. In those times, cool the affected area with cool (not cold) water for at least four to five minutes. This will help reduce or stop the process of burning. Avoid applying ice, toothpaste or any specialized lotion on the burn, as this can worsen the burn. Visit a doctor as soon as possible for an early as well as efficient treatment.