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Survey reveals limited awareness of recreation-related burn risks, treatment

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Phoenix — Most people underestimate the risk of burn injuries stemming from popular summertime items such as fire pits, grills and fireworks, while fewer than half understand common burn injury treatments, results of a recent survey indicate.

National polling firm Ipsos, on behalf of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health, conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults in June, asking about their planned summer activities, the risk of burn injuries related to the activities and their knowledge of burn injury treatments.

Results show that only 11% of the respondents were aware that fire/flame injuries such as those from fire pits or grills are the most common types of burn injuries. When it comes to treating a burn, applying ice directly to the injury can increase the risk of tissue damage. However, 39% said this treatment is OK.

Of those who planned to use or be around fireworks or sparklers, half said they didn’t know much or anything at all about burn injuries and treatments. And overall, 71% planned to use a grill, yet one-quarter incorrectly said water is the best way to put out a grill fire.

“It’s important for people to be aware of not only their risk for suffering from a burn injury, but what to do if they or a loved one experience a burn,” Kevin Foster, director of burn services at the Arizona Burn Center, said in a June 30 press release. “People need to be aware of the dangers, even with something as common as grilling, so that they are prepared to react appropriately and safety in an emergency.”

According to the center, a burn requires immediate medical attention if the injury is larger than the palm of your hand; covers your hands, joints or face; causes skin to peel; or results in pain that progressively worsens.

Among the center’s safety tips when around grills, fire pits or fireworks:

  • Avoid overcrowding your grill, especially with fatty meats that can create flare-ups.
  • Use a fire extinguisher to put out a grill fire.
  • A metal screen over a wood-burning fire pit will keep sparks and embers contained.
  • Keep fire pits at least 10 feet from your home or other structures.
  • Never hold lit fireworks in your hands.
  • Store matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children.

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