What are Burn accidents?

According to the latest statistics, presented by the 2012 report of  American Burn Association National Burn Repository, the survival rate in case of burn accidents is fairly high (approximately 96.1%). Most of the burn accidents occur in domestic setting due to malfunctioning fire or smoke alarms and personal or human error while handling stoves or electrical appliances.  In addition, report also suggests that 69% male falls victim to burn accidents as opposed to only 31% females; however, injuries are more severe (associated with high morbidity and mortality in females as compared to males).

What causes burn accidents?

Burn accidents can be caused by a multitude of sources like fireflames that is responsible for almost 44% of all burn accidents. This is followed by spillage of corrosives or toxic chemicals that can cause scalding injuries and deep tissue destruction. Electrical and chemical injuries accounts for another 7%. Together all these burn accidents account for over 3,400 deaths each year in United States alone and over 40,000 hospital admission (of which 60% are admitted to excluisveburn units suggesting extensive tissue damage).

Each year government and non- government bodies allocate fair amount of funding in order to create awareness among general population to decrease the incident cases.

What are the long term consequences of burn accidents?

Burn accidents are devastating and affect all the aspects of a person’s life. In addition to physical scars, most individuals also develop emotional and psychological scarring. Burn accidents are more devastating in children and elderly. According to the research report published by JA Petro (1), about 40% of all burn accidents change the entire life and lifestyle of burn survivor. Long term consequences of burn accidents are:

-          Inability to tolerate excessive sun exposure due to hypersensitive changes in the skin that may be permanent. This affects the person’s ability to work and earn money.

-          Emotional and psychological fear of fire and explosives that may affect the personal and social life.

-          Physical disfigurement that affects confidence and self esteem

-          Permanent damage to lungs as a result of steam inhalation injuries and toxemia. In addition depending upon the area of primary damage, renal failure, cardiac defects and brain damage may also occur.

-          Changes in the lifestyle due to physical adjustments; for example use of disability devices, occupational changes, learning new skills and modification of personal habits.

-          Financial trauma due to impaired ability to work (especially work that involves physical or mental exertion). Moreover, the cost of rehabilitation and recovery procedures is also very high that is in addition to primary medical expenses after burn injury. The injury can prove even more catastrophic if you don’t have medical insurance or healthcare coverage. For example, a latest report suggest that a moderate burn injury (involving 30% of the total body surface area can lead to initial billing cost of over $200, 000 and over $400,000 in the rehabilitation facilities per year.

To sum up, burn accidents can change your life altogether. It is therefore recommended to maintain extra caution to avoid burn accidents and injuries by employing preventive measures like installation of smoke detectors, fire- alarms, keeping fire extinguishers in home at convenient locations and others.


Petro, J. A., Belger, D., Salzberg, C. A., & Salisbury, R. E. (1989). Burn accidents and the elderly: what is happening and how to prevent it. Geriatrics, 44(3), 26.

Simerman, A. E. (1993). Right of a Cohabitant to Recover in Tort: Wrongful Death, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress and Loss of Consortium, The.U. Louisville J. Fam. L.32, 531.

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