A pot of coffee, a bath and a burning fireplace all have the potential to cause one of the most common childhood accidents: burns. National Burn Awareness Week is Feb. 5-11, and a UIeCare health expert says there are ways to help prevent burns from household dangers and shares what to do if your child gets burned.
“Since young children are unaware of danger, they are more susceptible to burn accidents,” said Patrick D. Brophy, MD, MHCDS, professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa and medical director for UIeCare. “Most burn injuries happen at home, but the good news is that they can be prevented in many cases.”
According to Brophy, there are several ways to help reduce the risk of burns, such as adjusting your hot water heater to 120 degrees F or just below the medium setting, turning pot handles toward the back of the stove or using the back burners when cooking, keeping hot liquids like coffee and tea out of children’s reach, and keeping children away from open flames from fireplaces and candles.
“Unfortunately, accidents can still happen in childproofed homes. It’s crucial to know how to detect the severity of a burn, which can help you decide how it should be treated,” said Brophy.
A first-degree burn will be slightly red, warm and tender. A second-degree burn will be bright red, swollen and blistery or oozing. A third-degree burn will be charred, black, white, leathery or waxy.
Dr. Brophy from UIeCare shares what to do if your child gets burned:

If the burn is second or third degree, it covers a large area, or is on the face, hands, feet, or genitals, you should call 911 or seek medical care immediately. Quickly submerge the injured area in cool water (never use ice or butter) to help alleviate pain and prevent further progression of the burn. Cover the burn with a cold, moistened cloth for about 15 minutes. Dry the area with a clean towel and cover it with a sterile bandage. If the burn starts to blister, apply an antiseptic ointment and cover the area loosely with a clean, nonstick bandage.  If your child is in pain, give pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed.

“If a doctor’s care is needed for a minor burn, UIeCare provides a convenient way to video chat with a physician anytime from the comfort of home,” said Brophy.
UIeCare, one of Iowa’s first virtual care services, makes it possible for Iowans to video chat with a provider credentialed by University of Iowa Health Care via a webcam or smart phone 24/7 from anywhere in Iowa.
The UIeCare service is for minor illnesses and injuries that are urgent, but not an emergency.
In addition to minor burns, UIeCare providers can effectively treat fever, flu-like symptoms, pink eye, rash, sore throat, urinary tract infections and vomiting. Prescriptions can be written if medically appropriate.
A UIeCare visit costs $50. Patients can seek reimbursement from a health savings account or an insurance plan.
UIeCare visitors do not need insurance or need to be current patients of the University of Iowa to use the service.
Iowans who are interested in learning more or would like to request online care can visit UIeCare.com. An internet broadband speed of 1 Mbps upstream is recommended for videoconferencing.
UIeCare, backed by University of Iowa Health Care, is the only virtual care service dedicated to helping Iowans throughout the state access health care whenever and wherever they need it – so they can receive care without leaving their homes.