|May 25, 2000
Media Contact: Eileen Callahan
BURN SAFETY AND POISON
INFORMATION TIPS FOR THE SUMMER AND 4TH OF JULY
The 4th of July conjures
up images of barbecues, picnics and fireworks; but while the
summer holiday is lots of fun, it also can be hazardous.
Following are some guidelines
for preventing accidents, and what to do in case of emergency.
The UCSD Regional Burn Center
will treat numerous children and adults with severe sunburns during
the summer season. A person falling asleep at the beach, even if the
weather is not extremely hot, doesn’t realize that severe sunburn
can occur even on gloomy days due to the intensity of the ultraviolet
rays. Additionally, sun reflected off the water is even more intense
and can lead to more serious burns.
Avoid falling asleep at the
beach and always apply sunscreen of 25 SPF or higher to prevent
Lighting the grill to cook hot
dogs and hamburgers can turn into a tragedy if a toddler swallows
charcoal lighter fluid, which can lead to serious poisoning.
If a child swallows lighter
fluid, immediately wipe off any fluid on the exposed skin. It is
important not to make the child vomit. Ipecac syrup should never be
used for this particular poisoning emergency or when any petroleum
distillate products, such as pine oil cleaners, furniture polishes or
gasoline, are ingested.
If the child is coughing or has
vomited, take the child to the nearest emergency room for a chest
x-ray. Petroleum distillate charcoal lighter fluid can cause serious
or potentially life-threatening chemical pneumonia. The substance can
enter the lungs when the child tries to swallow or vomit. If a person,
adult or child, has difficulty breathing after swallowing any poison,
especially charcoal lighter fluid, call 911 immediately.
If you suspect that a child has
swallowed a poison, call the California Poison Control System, San
Diego Division, at UCSD Medical Center immediately. The 24-hour
emergency number is 800-876-4766. The Poison Center staff evaluates
each situation quickly and provides first aid information.
The incidence of children, as
well as adults, stepping or falling on burning coals at the beach and
bay has increased dramatically over the years. Kids hit the beach
running and before they realize it they are walking or falling on hot
coals buried under the sand. Parents should always keep a watchful eye
on toddlers and children, and adults should be cautious of fire rings
or fire pits and avoid these areas.
Hot coals buried in the sand
can retain an intense heat for up to 24 hours. Anyone who walks for
falls on the hot coals can be severely burned and a child can sustain
life-threatening burns. Hot coals should always be disposed of in
designated containers at the beach or bay.
A Safe Picnic
For a worry-free picnic, keep
perishable food--ham, potato or macaroni salad, hamburgers, hot dogs,
lunch meat, cooked beef or chicken, deviled eggs, custard or cream
pies--in a cooler with ice. Put leftovers back in the cooler as soon
as you finish eating.
Toddlers can choke trying to
swallow many picnic foods whole such as hot dogs, hard-boiled eggs, or
marshmallows. Cut hot dogs lengthwise in narrow strips before serving,
slice up other foods into small bite-sized pieces, and keep children
seated while they are eating.
When possible, store the cooler
in the passenger area of the car during the trip home. It's cooler
than the trunk.
Fireworks are illegal in San
Diego County and extremely dangerous, especially those purchased in
Mexico. Small fireworks called "poppers" can explode in a
child’s pocket and set the child’s clothes on fire and result in
Bee Stings--What To Do
Spending the day outside on the
4th of July puts anyone at risk of a bee sting. First aid for bee
stings includes removing the bee's stinger by scraping it out with a
fingernail or blunt edge of a knife. Do not squeeze the stung area; it
can cause the stinger to release more venom. Wash the area well with
soap and water. Immediately apply ice wrapped in a cloth for 10 to 15
minutes. (Remember that ice applied directly to the skin can cause
damage to sensitive tissue.)
If an individual who is stung
experiences difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing,
swelling or itching eyes, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction,
call 911 immediately. Fortunately, most bee stings are easily
treatable and cause only minor discomfort.
The San Diego Regional Poison
Center receives many calls from beachgoers who report being stung by
venomous marine animals such as jellyfish, scorpion fish or stingrays.
The stinger should be removed and the wound washed with soap and
Hiking and Camping Hazards
In these warm months, many
people head away from the beach and toward the hills for hiking,
camping and other activities. But the hills and deserts are also home
to rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes account for 99 percent of human deaths
from snake bites in the United States. Most bites occur when people
handle the snakes or when they stick their hands down holes or under
logs and touch one.
In some rattlesnake bites, no
venom is injected into the wound, but because it is impossible to know
if venom has or hasn't been injected, getting medical treatment
quickly is important.
Administration of antivenin in
a hospital is the most important treatment. Traditional first aid
treatments -- applying ice, using a tourniquet, or applying suction to
the wound -- have little value and may cause more injury.
If you are in a remote area
when bitten by a rattler, first immobilize the wounded area,
especially for a hand or arm bite, then proceed slowly to a vehicle.
Moving slowly will keep the heart rate low and help prevent the venom
from spreading. (If bitten on the leg or foot, you will have to use
that limb to get to the vehicle, unless someone can carry you. In that
case, it is very important to move slowly.) Drive to the nearest
phone, call 911 and wait for assistance. If there is no phone nearby,
proceed to the nearest hospital.
UCSD Regional Burn Center
offers these 25 burn safety tips:
1. Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary
resuscitation) and first aid.
2. Prepare and practice exit
drills. Learn "two ways out."
3. Check electrical plugs and
cords for dirt or fraying.
4. Turn down your water heater
to 120 degrees.
5. Check smoke detectors every
month and change the batteries twice a year.
6. Store flammable liquids
7. Use sun block whenever you
are in the sun.
8. Use caution with hot
9. Supervise children near
fireworks. Don't allow fireworks in the home and instead
go to a professional display.
10. Watch for hot tar and coals
on the beach, and discard your own coals in a designated receptacle.
11. Never leave a fire
12. Never play games near a
fire pit or campfire.
13. Never use sand to
extinguish a campfire. Sand insulates heat.
14. Douse all campfires with
15. Keep clothing irons and
curling irons out of the reach of children.
16. Keep children out of the
kitchen when cooking.
17. Keep hot liquids away from
table and counter edges and turn pot handles in on the stove.
18. Use caution when removing
the wrapping or lids from microwaved or steamed food—steam cause
19. Don't pour hot liquids
20. Don't serve hot food or
liquids from a pan with children sitting at the table.
21. Do keep coffeepots,
crock-pots and deep fryers pushed to the back of the counter.
22. Don't put ice on small
burns. Use cool water, and in the event of a serious burn, immerse the
affected area in a bath of cool water.
23. Always discard smoking
materials in a deep or wet receptacle.
24. Keep matches out of reach
25. Never leave children alone,
not even for "a quick trip to the neighbors."
Burn injuries can be serious
and in case of a serious burn injury call 911 for an emergency