Extreme summer temperatures bring warnings about burn injuries in Arizona

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Extreme summer temperatures in Arizona and throughout the southern U.S. brings renewed warnings from the Arizona Burn Center – Valleywise Health about serious burn injuries.

Dr. Kevin Foster, Director at the center, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the report findings, along with other summer burn risks including grills and bonfires, fireworks and more.

Outside surfaces like sidewalks, driveways and other surfaces can reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, the Arizona Burn Center recorded 85 admissions from heat-related burn injuries in June, July and August. Seven of those patients died from their injuries. Some of the individuals came to the hospital hyperthermic – with body temperatures of over 108 degrees.

“We have probably seen half-a-dozen people today alone in our burn emergency department who have come in with contact burns,” Dr. Foster said.

Contact burns with hands or feet are usually not too bad, but the problem is not being able to get up right away, those burns can be damaging according to Dr. Foster.

“Plus patients have systemic manifestations of heat shock just from being exposed to hot temperature over a long period of time,” Dr. Foster said.

Hyperthermia can cause central nervous problems, brain damage, problems with the liver and kidneys, overall a pretty bad situation for individuals, according to Dr. Foster.

Young children, seniors, people with disabilities and homeless people are at higher risk of getting burn injuries. It is important to stay inside when the temperatures are severely high and to have someone to assist you if needed while walking outside.

Dr. Kevin Foster, Director of the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health

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