The Number of 'Scald Burns' Remains Consistent

Feb 11, 2013

In any given week, three to five burn patients could be treated at the University of Kentucky Hospital.  About half of the injuries in young children are typically ‘scald burns.  A ‘scald burn’ can happen in just a matter of seconds.  University of Kentucky Burn Unit Director Leslie Wong says many children are injured after pulling a hot liquid down off a counter.

“A typical pattern is for a small child to have the hot water usually pulling it from something higher than them, so unfortunately it usually hits their face and neck first and then kind of runs down onto their chest.  It’s a very classic, you know, I’ve pulled something down on me pattern,” said Wong.

Wong says skin graphs and compression garments are used on burn patients.

“But nothing is overnight.  With any of these modalities, you know a lot of time, a lot of patience and some patients certainly will be left with permanent scarring,” added Wong.

Wong says lasers are playing a bigger role in the treatment of patients.  There are certain suggested steps to help avoid ‘scald burns.’  One of the biggest risks can be found in the hot water tank..

“There are ways to set it so it can’t be any hotter than 120, because the hotter it is, it could literally just take seconds to have a burn that would result in permanent scarring,” explained Wong.

Leslie Wong says the number of scald burn cases seems to be running fairly consistent.  She says many of the burns are seen in the very young or the elderly.