Not cool to touch: Doctors see rise in surface burns involving children
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
Southern Nevadans know the potential threat to health from excessive heat.
Just touching an object that's been out in the sun can cause serious burn injuries. Hospitals are seeing an uptick in surface heat burns on children.
Medical experts say people can start to get burns on different surfaces when outside air temperatures start at 90 degrees, with a greater frequency over 100 degrees.
At Sunset Park in the southeast Las Vegas Valley, children were plentiful in the water while the playground was deserted.
A temperature gun showed the slide was 180 degrees, steps were up to 176 degrees. And the coolest part of the playground set was 139 degrees in the shade.
"We're teaching them how to deal with Las Vegas heat, in addition, to enjoying their community and the free resources that are available," said Loriena Kendricks-Baker, a clinician with Loving Care, an organization for family services.
Dr. Jay Fisher in the emergency department at UMC Children's Hospital says this week he's already seen five patients with significant surface burns.
Doctors recommend for people to spray down hot surfaces in backyards with cold water often to avoid injuries at home.
They’re also warning that exposure to the high temperatures can be dangerous as well. Dr. Fisher tells us it is dangerous to be outside in direct sunlight for even short lengths of time.
“I think truthfully if it’s between 10 and 3 if you’re out fifteen minutes you should be in. Because it’s too long.” Fisher told us. “Human beings are not meant to work, walk, stand in this for more than 15 minutes. Get out of the sun.”
Thirst and headaches are warning signs of heat stroke as the body struggles to cool itself. Blood flow to muscles can be affected so much that kidney failure is another dangerous side effect of heat exposure. Those symptoms are magnified in the elderly, young, or in those with viral infections.