Every Memorial Day, friends and families get together for cookouts in celebration of the start of summer. However, for the staff at the Burn & Reconstructive Centers of Florida at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami, the holiday is a time to spotlight safety.
As the #1 Burn Hospital in South Florida, Kendall Regional’s team strives to spread awareness on burn prevention and safety tips. Dr. Haaris Mir, the Medical Director of the Burn and Reconstructive Center, explains how injuries they see can range from severe burns caused by bonfires, to minor burns caused by people touching hot surfaces, such as the closed lid of a grill.
A hot grill or campfire is often at the center of Memorial Day celebrations. Maintaining a “safe zone” around the grill or campfire helps keep the celebration safe, explains Dr. Mir, “Burns can cause much discomfort, so always be mindful of potential danger at these times as a way to prevent injury.”
Some tips on burn prevention and awareness include:
- Use grills only in properly ventilated areas, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires increases if grilling in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Never use an accelerant such as gasoline to light a grill, campfire or debris pile. Gas fumes can ignite and cause a large explosion.
- Never, ever use a match to check for leaks. Find leaks by spraying soapy water on gas line connections. If you see water bubbles, there is a leak.
- Dispose of hot coals properly: Soak with water, then stir and soak again to make sure the fire is out.
- Always shut off the propane tank valve when not in use.
- Never try to light a gas grill with the lid closed.
- Always wear short sleeves and/or tight-fitting clothing while grilling.
- Use utensils with long handles to stay clear of hot surfaces.
Many people celebrate Memorial Day by being out in the sun. Dr. Mir urges everyone to be wary of the sun and to apply sunscreen on your body, “The skin of infants, toddlers and the elderly is thinner than that of adults, so they can be burned more easily.” To avoid getting a potentially severe sunburn, use a sweat proof, broad-spectrum sunscreen (which protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with at least an SPF of 35, and reapply the sunscreen every 30 minutes or anytime you have been in the water.
Even with these precautions, burns can happen. If you do get burned, there are some simple steps you can take to initially treat a minor burn. First, rinse the area with room temperature or cool water. Do not use ice or very cold water. Do not apply butter, mustard, oil or toothpaste. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the injured area and keep it covered with a clean, dry gauze. Seek medical care.
For more information, call 305.222.2200 or visit KendallMed.Com/Service/Burn-Care.