“This time of year, we often see an uptick in patients with serious burns in our emergency departments and burn centers. A celebration with family and friends can quickly become tragic,” said Dr. Carson. “The good news is that many of these situations are preventable if people follow the right precautions.”
Simple actions like keeping cooking areas clean and distraction-free, using oven mitts when handling hot surfaces and turning pot handles to the middle of the stove can greatly minimize the risk of burns while cooking.
Deep-frying a turkey presents an even higher risk. “When you deep fry anything you have to be extra cautious to protect against burns,” said Dr. Carson. “Boiling oil gets much hotter than water, and the water from a frozen turkey can cause a reaction when it hits the oil that sprays it in all directions.”
If you’re thinking of frying a turkey this year, it’s important to use a pot that’s large enough to contain a whole turkey and enough oil, and make sure that the turkey is fully thawed before it is submerged. Keep kids and adults away from the area, and have a reliable and safe way to remove the turkey without spilling the oil.
If you experience any burns this holiday season, Loyola Medicine’s Burn Center can provide advice on how to care for the injury properly to prevent lasting damage.
“You don’t have to suffer a severe burn to call us for advice, but signs a burn might be serious include skin discoloration, especially if the skin turns white or black, swelling, loss of sensation and burns covering a large area of the body,” said Dr. Carson. “If burns cover more than a hand-sized area or affect the face, eyes, hands or feet, definitely seek medical treatment.”
It’s best to visit a hospital or care center with a dedicated burn unit because severe burns can cause problems that affect many other parts of the body, some requiring specialized nurses or special surgical care.
Most physicians are not trained in advanced burn care, and treating serious burns requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Burn centers can also provide the physical and occupational therapy and psychosocial support needed when recovering from serious burns.
As people gather for Thanksgiving with family and friends, remember that everyone can play a role in preventing burns and keeping loved ones safe this holiday season.
Loyola Medicine’s Burn Center provides the most advanced burn care to patients. The center houses an expanded hydrotherapy area for cleaning and dressing wounds and a rehabilitation area where physical and occupational therapists work with patients.
An outpatient burn clinic is open five days a week to provide follow-up care. Loyola’s multidisciplinary team at the Burn Center includes specialists from pulmonology, wound management, nutritional support and physical rehabilitation.