Practice Burn Safety This Holiday Season

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The holidays can pose a serious hazard when it comes to getting burned. There are a number of reasons. First, this is one of the busiest cooking times of the year. Even amateurs will venture into the culinary sphere with occasionally disastrous results. Christmas decorations including trees, lights, and candles can combine in dangerous ways. There are electrical hazards and flame hazards to watch out for. Finally, the fireplace which hasn’t been used all year may be put into service at last. If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned properly, the buildup of creosote or a bird nest could lead to a bigger fire than intended!
Here are some tips to keep your skin safe from burns this season:

• Never leave food unattended on the stove. Use a timer and check food in the oven regularly.
• Keep kids out of the kitchen and turn all pot handles inward so they don’t hang off the edge of the range.
• Clear the area around the stove of any flammable items and keep an extinguisher handy.
• If you must fry a turkey, do it outside well away from any structures. Follow all equipment instructions to prevent oil from boiling over.
• If you buy a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green. Water it regularly (unplug the lights first!) and don’t keep the tree for more than two weeks.
• Only burn candles when people are in the room to enjoy them. Keep candles away from curtains and extinguish all candle flames before you go to bed.
• Keep the area around the fireplace clear and use a child safety screen to keep kids out. Don’t burn holiday wrapping paper in the fireplace since it may flare up unexpectedly.

What if You Do Get Burned?

Keep a first aid kit on hand to immediately treat burns. If the skin isn’t broken, cold water followed by aloe vera gel with Lidocaine may be helpful for limiting blistering and minimizing pain. If the skin is more severely burned (but the burn is still small), room temperature water and a gentle liquid soap can be used to cleanse the wound. Use a bandaid or gauze as necessary to prevent the blister from getting ruptured and to ensure the area remains dry and clean. If the skin is broken, you may want to apply a dab of antibiotic ointment to prevent the bandage from sticking to the wound. For more serious burns, seek medical attention right away to prevent infection and limit scarring.

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