Having a hot summer? Know what to do if you get burned

(BPT) - Summertime is full of fun activities like grilling, hanging out by the firepit, July 4 fireworks and just enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. But with those activities come hazards as well — mostly from painful burns.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, children under 5 accounted for an average of 2,000 (or 39% of) contact-type burns each year. These burns typically happened when someone bumped into, touched or fell on a grill or hot coals. On top of that, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that an average of 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries during the month around the July 4 holiday.

In addition to burn accidents, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that more than 1 out of every 3 Americans get sunburned each year.

"Being aware of common types of burns is the first step to prevention," said registered nurse Laura Gardon. "If a burn does occur, you need to act quickly, especially with young children."

Take steps before a holiday event or summer get-together to help prevent burns. Then, if you or a family member suffers from any kind of minor burn or sunburn, make sure you know what to do.

Using matches or lighters

Even adults can accidentally burn their fingers or hands when trying to ignite a grill, a firepit or fireworks. Take extra care and precautions when handling matches and lighters.

  • Try to shelter from the wind while you are lighting anything, and be aware of which way the wind is blowing.
  • Use longer wooden matches or long-reach butane lighters to help prevent burns to hands and fingers.
  • Always keep matches and lighters up and away from children.
  • Teach children to keep their distance from outdoor grills and firepits.

Prolonged sun exposure

Especially during long holiday weekends, it’s easy to overindulge outdoors when you’re having fun in the sun. But exposed skin can burn quickly, especially if you don’t use sunscreen or forget to reapply it after hours in the sun or swimming.

"Sunburn often doesn’t start hurting until after the damage has been done," said Gardon. "So don't assume you're not getting sunburn just because you don't feel it yet."

What can you do to help prevent sunburn?

  • Use sunscreen, even on cloudy days
  • Reapply sunscreen after swimming
  • Wear a hat
  • Take breaks in the shade
  • Limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun's UV rays are the strongest
  • Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun, such as sun sleeves or UV protective clothing and sunshades

Get help for a burn

Whether it’s from an accident or sunburn, first make sure the burn isn’t serious. Fortunately, a new Ask Alocane Burn Hotline will be staffed by nurses for the Fourth of July weekend.

  • The hotline's toll-free number will be available July 3-5, Saturday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, at 1-866-256-2263 (ALOCANE).
  • A live chat is also available seven days a week through July 31, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. CST, at www.alocane.com/hotline.

Nurses on the Ask Alocane Burn Hotline can help you determine the severity of the burn and let you know if further medical intervention is needed. They can also help you with advice on how to treat sunburn and burns from outdoor cooking, grilling, firepits and even sparklers.

"The nurses on the hotline can help you differentiate between first-degree and second-degree burns," said Gardon. "And they can talk you out of trying home ‘remedies’ that may actually make the burn worse, like applying butter."

In the case of serious burn emergencies, you should always call 911.

Cool the burn

According to the Mayo Clinic, using cool running water or a cool compress (not ice) right away can help take the heat out of a minor burn or sunburn.

For treating pain from minor burns, Alocane is recommended by physicians and pharmacists. Its complete product line offers relief and healing for all types of minor burns, from sunburns to chemical burns. It is appropriate for use by adults and on children age 2 and up. By utilizing 4% Lidocaine for maximum pain relief, plus the soothing qualities of aloe vera, Alocane helps relieve the pain from burns.

Visit www.alocane.com to learn more.