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During winter, the risk of burn-related injuries surges in South Africa. Hospitals have to deal with an influx of burn-related injuries, particularly among children.
According to the Medical Research Council (MRC) burn-related injuries result in some 2 000 deaths and more than 80 000 injuries in South Africa each year.
According to the WHO, burn deaths among children under five years in the WHO African Region are more than twice as prevalent as those worldwide.
Open flames, using paraffin stoves, and hot water are said to be common causes of these burn-related injuries.
Burn-related injuries are preventable. And, it is crucial to take preventative measures to ensure everyone is safe.
According to the MRC, replacing hazardous appliances and fuels with safer and cost-effective energy technologies is a strategic intervention to be considered alongside other safety measures.
The National Burn Association of South Africa recommends the following tips to keep safe this winter:
- Adjust the temperature of the geyser to 55°c.
- Do not overload electrical circuits. Supplying other properties or buildings with electricity using long extensions, especially if they cross streets, can lead to electrocution and fire.
- Never throw water onto burning oil. The fire can spread fire and also cause an explosion.
- Always turn paraffin stoves or lamps off when not needed.
- Always unplug heat-producing appliances when not in use, especially irons and heaters.
- Keep lighted candles far away from curtains or anything that can burn, and never leave them unattended.
- Heaters must be at least one metre away from clothing, furniture, or curtains.
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