Avoid summer burns when temperatures rise

Don't be fooled by cooler weather
Updated: Jul. 13, 2017 at 9:22 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Don't be fooled by "cooler weather" when our triple-digit temperatures fall back into the low 90s. The summer heat can still leave serious burn marks, especially on unsuspecting children.

Dr. John Griswold is the Medical Director of the Timothy J. Harner Burn Unit at UMC, the only such facility between Dallas and Albuquerque.

He says the temperature only needs to reach 90 degrees outside for objects to heat up and become quite dangerous.

"The metal parts in your car like your seat belt can get to 150 degrees," he says. "Vinyl seats will also get that hot. Steering wheels, gear shift knobs, it only takes 140 degrees to cause a blister burn. So very quickly, the car can be a problem, especially for children."

The burns are even more brutal when temperatures climb into the 100s, but Dr. Griswold says we can't ignore the painful blisters that may still come when our temperatures are hovering in the 90s.

He also says beware of going barefoot. We think of summer as a time to kick off our shoes, but Dr. Griswold says they see many patients in the burn unit with burns on the feet after walking on pavement when the sun is glaring.

"Kids, keep the shoes on," he says. "Asphalt and cement can heat up very quickly. Cement can get to 200 degrees, just at 90 degrees outdoors. Asphalt up to 300 degrees. Those can cause deep burns very quickly."

Dr. Griswold adds that often, burns can be prevented with the touch test. If an adult will touch the car seat or the metal clip in a seat belt before the child climbs in, there is time to air out the car or throw a towel over what is hot to cool things off before a child is blistered.

And one more word of caution as more kids are home for the summer. This has nothing to do with the sun, but when kids are inside cooling off.

Dr. Griswold says at least once a week, they are seeing children in the burn center with a microwave burn. Kids are heating quick snacks that come in their own microwave cup, then burning themselves as they remove and open the container before it has cooled.

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