Don't Get Burned This Summer

Armen Hareyan's picture

Doctor offers tips to keep from getting scorched by the sun, barbecues, campfires, fireworks and more.

It's another hot summer night in the emergency room at the University of Michigan Hospital. And the doctors and nurses know what that means: any minute now, another burned patient will come through the door needing immediate treatment.

Maybe it'll be a woman who burned her bare feet walking over the buried coals of a beach bonfire, or a child who got too much sun and developed skin blisters.


Maybe it'll be a teenager who came too close to the hot exhaust of a lawnmower, or a father who didn't heed the warning on a package of fireworks.

Or maybe it'll be a toddler who strayed too close to a fire pit, or a backyard chef who got impatient with a charcoal fire and tried to jump-start it with a squirt of lighter fluid.

Whatever kind of burn comes through that emergency room door, says U-M emergency physician Edward Walton, M.D., it almost surely didn't need to happen.

Every summer day, hundreds of people get burned in situations that could have been prevented by simple common sense or some basic precautions. Some of them come to the ER, but many others nurse minor burns at home