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Tips & Tricks to Prevent Burns this Winter

As we exit autumn into winter, we all enjoy a respite from those chilly mornings with a cup of steaming tea or coffee. The heaters come out – bar heaters, oil heaters, and fan heaters – and we keep the windows and doors closed. Unfortunately, winter is also the time where burn units across the country see an influx of patients- predominantly water and electrical burns.

How do you prevent hot water burns?

  • Adjust the temperature of the geyser to 55°C. Always test the water before immersing your child in the tub.

  • Be sensible—leaving cups of hot tea and coffee near the edge of tables, on slippery surfaces or in the reach of young children inevitably leads to injury. Put all hot drinks, hot cooking oil, and hot porridge out of reach of children.

  • Replace worn-out oven mitts and don’t use them when wet (water conducts electricity).

  • Do not carry urns or pots of boiling water around while there are toddlers on the floor or children running about.

How to prevent electrical burns?

  • Do not overload electrical circuits, especially extension cords.

  • Supplying other properties or buildings with electricity by using long extensions, especially if they cross streets, can lead to electrocution and fire.

  • Never use electrical appliances with wet hands in the bathroom or pool, as water conducts electricity.

  • When not in use, always unplug heat-producing appliances, especially irons and heaters.

  • A heater must be at least 1 m away from anything that may catch fire (clothing, furniture, or curtains).

  • Do not dry clothes on a heater.

I’ve been burned. What do I do?

  • Run cold water over the wound as soon as possible for at least 20 minutes.

  • Do NOT apply ice to the wound.

  • Do NOT apply butter, Vaseline, or toothpaste to the wound.

  • If you have burn shield - spray on the wound.

  • Do not pop any blisters.

  • Remove any jewellery around the area of the burn (example: rings off your fingers if your palm is burnt) as swelling will occur after some time and it may be difficult to remove then. (And it's dangerous to have on).

  • Seek medical attention immediately by calling 084 124

  • Call 10177 if there’s a fire or 112 from a cell phone.

What else should I keep at home to assist with burn prevention?

  • Fit working smoke detectors in your home.

  • Have a fire extinguisher with an appropriate nozzle and test it to see if it works and that you know how to use it! This is especially true if you own a gas or paraffin stove at home.

  • Keep candles away from furniture and curtains.

  • Make sure you have escape routes and plans in place in the event of a fire in your home, and that your children are aware of the exit strategy.

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