08 Feb 2018 – 8:29
DOHA: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has cautioned the public on heating practices to help them stay warm and safe, during the cold weather.
“With the cold weather, some residents have begun using additional means to stay warmer at home and at bath time. Unfortunately, this may lead to a rise in the number of patients with injuries from their heating systems. These include scald injuries, electrical or contact burns from fire or gas heaters and even serious flame burns from house fires,” said Dr Rafael Consunji, Director of the Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP), which is the community outreach arm of the Hamad Trauma Center.
According to Dr Consunji, electrical burns and fires are more likely to happen with the incorrect use of electrical appliances for heating, while scald burns most often happen when bathing or cooking with hot liquids. He said, “Most victims of scald burns are very young or the elderly, because they are unable to physically remove themselves from the scalding liquid’s path, and because their skin is generally much thinner and more sensitive to high temperatures. They can sustain severe scald burns within a few seconds, and in recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of infants seeking treatment for scald burns.”
The HIPP recommends some precautions when using electrical or space heaters, including to purchase an electrical or space heater from a reputable store and check it is ‘UL’ certified or equivalent to ensure it meets international standards for safety.
Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater or portable radiator) into one electrical outlet at a time; electrical heaters are high-power devices that must be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Plugging them into an extension cord can cause the fuse to blow, or worse, overheat and melt devices or wiring, which can lead to a house fire.
Have a one-meter wide designated ‘kid-free zone’ around open fires and space heaters and make sure that automatic timers on heaters are working properly and remember to always turn portable heaters off when leaving any room or before going to bed. Dr Consunji also says that parents and caregivers should avoid carrying a child and a hot beverage at the same time to avoid scald burns.