February 10, 2023 | Net Health

3 Minute Read

Preventing Scald Injuries Focus of National Burn Awareness Week

Campaign Theme is “Hot Liquids Burn Like Fire!”

As a wound care provider, you’ve seen many patients with burns due to scalding liquids. This week is National Burn Awareness Week. To shed light on the topic, the focus is on raising awareness about the dangers of scalding injuries.  

According to the CDC and the American Burn Association, water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit can cause a deep burn in just 3 seconds; at 156 degrees, it can cause the same injury in just 1 second. Consider that freshly brewed coffee averages 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s clear to see the danger of hot liquids. All told, more than 500,000 scald burns happen in the United States each year, with children under the age of 5 and elders over 65 at the most risk.1 The average annual cost of scald injuries in the United States is $44 million.2

Severe burns much more treatable now

Scope and cost are important to note. However, the real issue for patients and their caregivers is that burns can be physically and emotionally devastating. While there’s more to do, new technologies and innovations are bringing hope to burn patients. As a result, outcomes have significantly improved – especially over the last decade. 

Some of the promising advancements are on the operational side – like specialty electronic health record (EHR) solutions that help clinicians better evaluate, track, manage treatment, and even efficiently order products. And some advancements are on the treatment side, such as a new spray-on skin cell technology, which is predicted to impact patients’ recovery profoundly. Another promising therapy is a new portable wound care system that creates an on-the-spot nano-fibrous layer for tissue repair and healing without any contact from the caregiver.

Ways to reduce scalding incidents

While innovation is promising, it’s always important to focus on prevention. This month is a great time to remind your patients (and your colleagues, family and friends) of the dangers of scalding and other burns. There are free materials available on the American Burn Association’s website. Additionally, here is a summary of some of their top tips. 

  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120°F/48°C, or just below the medium setting
  • Take extra care in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters
  • Use a travel mug with a tight‐fitting lid for all hot drinks
  • Place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove

There are additional resources available that provide burn care recommendations and information to help determine the severity of a burn, such as WoundSource and the Mayo Clinic. 

If you currently work with burn patients, take note of a few associations dedicated to providing long-term support, such as the Phoenix Society and the Burn Model System.

Find out More

For more information on how Net Health Wound Care EHR can help support patients with scalds and burns, visit our web page and contact us for a free demo of Net Health Wound Care.

1American Burn Associaiton. Scald Injury Prevention. April 2017.

2Journal of Burn Care and Research. American Burn Association, Scald Injury Collection.

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