Slathering on sunscreen whenever you head outside is a good start to warding off burns this summer, but sunshine isn’t your only potential hazard. Here’s how to steer clear of other situations that can lead to blisters, burns or emergency room (ER) visits:
Barbecue grills- Risks- The fire may flare up while you’re tending to dinner. Unfamiliarity with lighter fluid could lead to disaster. A baggy garment could ignite. How to avoid: Don’t wear loose clothing when grilling. Don’t squirt lighter fluid on a lit fire. Keep matches and lighters away from children—and children away from a hot grill. How to treat: Go to the ER. don’t remove burned clothing that’s stuck to the skin, and don’t pop blisters.
Campfires- Risks- You can get burned by accidentally falling into the fire, leaving matches unattended near children or failing to properly extinguish the fire. How to avoid: Ring the campfire with stones and don’t allow anyone to sit too close. Keep lighters and matches out of sight. Drown fires with water, stirring until ashes feel cool. How to treat: Head to the ER. Cover severe burns with sterile bandages or clean cloths. Do not apply ointment.
Fireworks- Risks: Attending a function with lit fireworks puts you closer to the pyrotechnics than public displays. Carelessness or inexperience can lead to injury. How to avoid: Follow instructions and read safety warnings. Stand several feet from lit fireworks, and have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby. Submerge flaming clothes in water. How to treat: Go to the ER. (Sparklers reach more than 1,000o F, so burns can be severe.) Separate burned fingers with dry sterile bandages.
Photokeratitis (sunburned corneas)- Risks: Sand and water at the beach can intensify the sun’s reflection, leading to painful burns on the corneas. How to avoid: Wear sunglasses with 99% or 100% UvA and UvB protection. Choose styles that wrap around the temples for better protection. How to treat: Your doctor may prescribe a topical solution to ease pain. Corneas usually heal in two or three days, and associated blindness is temporary.
Lightning- Risks: External and internal burns are possible for lightning-strike victims. How to avoid: Seek shelter from thunder- storms. Avoid lone tall trees and bodies of water. How to treat: Go to the ER. It’s safe to touch victims, so you can dress their burns with dry sterile bandages.