The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Meet to prevent burn injuries

Nov. 12: The Burn Care Foundation in collaboration with the NEMCARE Hospitals in the city conducted a burn awareness programme here today.

According to the reports of the foundation, during 2009-2011, four hospitals in the city received a total of 120 Diwali-related burn cases, of which 71 per cent of the burn patients were males and the rest females.

While NEMCARE Hospitals received 96 burn cases during Diwali in the past three years, Guwahati Refinery, Down Town Hospitals and Saint John’s Hospital received 11, 10 and 3 cases, respectively.

Majority of the burn victims (61 cases) comprised youngsters in the age group of 11 to 30 years, 40 cases involved victims in the age group of 30 to 50 years, 9 cases concerned people above 50 years and 10 cases involved children below the age of 10 years.

The victims sustained burn injuries mostly in their hands, forearms and eyes.

While two women sustained 40 per cent and 70 per cent burns, the remaining 118 victims received burns between 1 and 15 per cent.

“Seventy per cent of all burn injuries are preventable and people can easily prevent the occurrence of fire hazards if they are careful. Every year we receive a number of burn victims during the festival of lights and most of them sustain burn injuries while handling firecrackers without taking the necessary precautions. Firecrackers should never be lighted while holding it directly with the hand and children should never be allowed to handle them without the supervision of adults. Many people also make the mistake of wearing flowing clothes which can easily catch fire, resulting in the wearer incurring severe burns,” Hitesh Baruah, managing director of NEMCARE Hospitals, said.

Kalash, commonly known as the flowerpot was found to be the major cause of firecracker-related burns, as it had a tendency to burst suddenly.

“While superficial burns can be treated with medication, surgery may be required to treat major burns. Severe burns not only damage the skin, but also damage the internal organs. Burn patients have to be kept in a very sterile environment, as the chances of their incurring secondary infections are great, which may even prove fatal. Also, when an individual is disfigured because of burns, he tends to develop emotional and psychological problems. The issue of rehabilitating such patients has to be taken into account,” B.P. Sarma, convener of BCF, said.

However, even today people do not know about the pre-hospital care that should be administered to a burn victim to minimise the harm.

When a person catches fire, he should be made to roll on the ground, instead of waiting for someone to cover him with a blanket as this may lead to waste of valuable time.

Cold water should be poured upon the burnt area for a minimum of 10-15 minutes or till the burning sensation subsides.

Then the wounded area should be covered with a wet cloth and the patient rushed to the hospital immediately.

“People should strictly avoid applying any ointment on the burnt area and instead pour cold water. If the patient feels thirsty, he should be given only plain water to drink. He should not be given any medication without consulting a doctor,” Sarma said.

The Centre has also issued certain guidelines to shops selling firecrackers so as to prevent any occurrence of fire.

Shops should not be constructed with combustible material and the firecrackers sold should be of authorised quality.

Smoking, lighting of candles, lighter and matchstick, using of damaged or loose hanging electrical wires, should be avoided inside the shops.

No one should be allowed to play near the shops and the owners have to keep fire extinguishers like water and sand buckets handy, to douse a fire.