Call for caution with fire
An alarming trend of using accelerants to light fires has sparked calls for people to be cautious this summer.
The National Burn Centre at Middlemore Hospital is warning people to be extra careful when lighting fires over the festive period.
Burns caused by bonfires and barbecues – most using accelerants – account for an astonishing 462 hospital days for treatment over the past two years, National Burn Centre clinical leader Richard Wong She says.
Men aged 20 to 29 and 40 to 49 years are most at risk.
Half the 56 people admitted to the centre had burns involving more than 10 per cent of the body.
Five patients had serious burn injuries with one sustaining burns to more than 80 per cent of the body.
Burn injuries can lead to lengthy hospital admissions and can require treatment for many years, Mr Wong She says.
That can result in an economic burden for families because of the potential of permanent disability and emotional stress.
But first aid can help prevent surgery, he says.
‘‘Cool running water for a minimum of 20 minutes is the best form of first aid.
‘‘Remember to cool the burn wound but to keep the patient warm.’’