Beware of campfire burns

Department of Health

Now Territorians are enjoying going bush again, they are being warned to be extra vigilant to prevent burns from campfires.

The call comes during National Burns Awareness Month, an Australia-wide campaign run by Kidsafe Australia, focused on raising awareness of prevention and correct first aid treatment for burns and scalds.

Royal Darwin Hospital Burns Clinical Nurse Consultant, Dave Jacinto, said campfire-related burn injuries were one of the leading causes of accidental burn injuries among Territorians.

“These type of injuries are related to contact with hot coals, ashes or direct flame from fire. Not surprisingly, more than half of these injuries are burns to the feet,” he said.

“Territorians love the outdoors and camping and the number of people with campfire burn injuries increases during the Dry Season.

“We have already seen an increase in numbers with the adjustment of COVID-19 controls, along with some good Dry Season weather,” Mr Jacinto said.

The Top End Health Service has already treated 22 people for campfire-related burn injuries this year compared with 21 for all of 2018. More than half of these cases required surgery.

Mr Jacinto said it was important Territorians were aware of the correct first aid procedures for burns.

“If a burn happens, it is critical cool running water is applied to the burn area for 20 minutes. First aid can be delivered up to three hours after the burn. Administering correct first aid measures can make a significant difference in the rehabilitation and long-term outcome of the burn injury.”

Treatment of burns and scalds:

  • Cool – place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes. Importantly, ice, oil or butter should never be placed on a burn
  • Cover the burn loosely with cling-wrap or any clean, damp low-lint cloth
  • Call for help. Seek medical attention if the burn or scald is on the face, hands, feet, genitals or buttocks, is larger than a 20-cent coin or blistered.

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