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Avoid Burns in Extreme Heat or When Grilling

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 With triple-digit temperatures continuing across many parts of the country and the outdoor grilling season still in full swing, a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician who specializes in burn care wants to remind people to be careful around hot surfaces such as a grill or a playground slide. Image for illustration purposes
 With triple-digit temperatures continuing across many parts of the country and the outdoor grilling season still in full swing, a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician who specializes in burn care wants to remind people to be careful around hot surfaces such as a grill or a playground slide. Image for illustration purposes

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By UT Southwestern Medical Center

Newswise — DALLAS – With triple-digit temperatures continuing across many parts of the country and the outdoor grilling season still in full swing, a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician who specializes in burn care wants to remind people to be careful around hot surfaces such as a grill or a playground slide.

Contact burns from hot surfaces result in about 70,000 emergency room visits a year in the U.S. Concrete, for example, can reach 125 degrees when the air temperature hits just 77 degrees. Many areas are much hotter. Dallas, for example, has the second hottest summer on record based on the number of days that have been at or above 105 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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“Concrete, metal, and even plastic surfaces sitting in the sun are hot enough to burn, and children are particularly at risk,” said Samuel Mandell, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern.

Accidents involving a barbecue grill or stove are also a common source of burn injuries, with an estimated 10,745 people treated in hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. each year between 2018 and 2022, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

“When grilling food outside, remember that grills – both gas and charcoal – are an open source of flame and a potential danger,” noted Dr. Mandell, who is also Burn Section Chief and Director of the Parkland Burn Center.

Some common safety precautions include:

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Always wear shoes on hot concrete or asphalt, particularly if you have neuropathy.

Be aware of children and pets around sun-drenched surfaces, including concrete, toys, playground equipment, and car seats.

Remember to check for burns if someone falls or collapses on hot pavement.

Never leave a lit grill unattended. Designate an area around the grill for children to avoid. Children and pets should remain at least 3 feet from a grill to help prevent burns or accidentally knocking over the grill.

Don’t lean directly over the grill. Be aware of clothing such as scarves, shirttails, or apron strings that can catch fire when bending over. Consider flame-retardant oven mitts and long utensils to avoid burns.

Don’t pour water directly on coals as steam can rise unexpectedly and scald.

Smother grease fires with a lid or an appropriate fire extinguisher, which should always be kept near the grill.

Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and pets and away from any source of heat, including grills and fire pits.

Never use gasoline as a source of ignition.

Never try to move a hot grill. Be sure to wait for coals to cool off before disposing.

Avoid toxic fumes from charcoal. Burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas. Never burn charcoal indoors or in garages, tents, RVs, campers, or other enclosed spaces.

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