Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in our Nation. Tragically, children, the elderly, and the disabled are especially vulnerable to burn injuries, and almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15. Between 2010 and 2014, approximately 486,000 people were seen in Emergency Departments for treatment of non-fatal burn injuries. In 2014 alone, there were 3,275 deaths from fires and another 53,220 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries.
Children under five are 2.4 times as likely as the general population to suffer burn injuries that require emergency medical treatment. Young adults ages 20-29 have a probability of burn injury that is roughly 1.5 times the risk of the general population. The primary causes of injury include fire-flame, scalds, electrical and chemicals. Most of the injuries occur in the home. Today, 96.8% of those who suffer burn injuries will survive. Unfortunately, many of those survivors will sustain serious scarring, life-long physical disabilities, and adjustment difficulties.
National Burn Awareness Week, an initiative of the American Burn Association, is a coming together of burn, fire and life safety educators to make the public aware of the frequency, devastation and causes of burn injury as well as consistent and authoritative measures to prevent these injuries and how to best care for those that are injured.
Significant research and medical advances have dramatically improved burn care and treatment, aided rehabilitation, shortened hospital stays, and increased burn survival rates. Aftercare support for the physical and emotional effects of burns has also played a key role in the successful reintegration of burn survivors into our communities. Further, burn safety education and prevention efforts continue to reduce the number of people who suffer burns each year.
Medical research has contributed greatly to the advances in developing national standards for acute and long term treatment of burn injuries. However, there is still much to learn about the best possible physical and emotional practices, support and care of burn patients.
The very best approach to burns is prevention. A great number of burn injuries are preventable. There is an ongoing need for national and local attention to all aspects of burn injury prevention, including an awareness of the Mechanisms of Burns (MOB) such as with scald and contact burns.
Many people devote their lives and careers to treating, caring for, supporting and rehabilitating burn injury survivors, including those performing vital work in burn research and development. There are dedicated fire fighters who risk their own lives every day to protect others, as well as burn foundations and other life safety professionals who promote burn injury awareness and prevention.