A 5-Year Review of Pavement Burns From a Desert Burn Center

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Journal of Burn Care and Research





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Pavement burns account for significant burn-related injuries in the Southwestern United States and other hot climates with nearly continuous sunlight and daily maximum temperatures above 100°F. At peak temperatures, pavement can be hot enough to cause second-degree burns in a matter of seconds. The goal of this study was to review pavement burn injury admissions at a desert burn center compared with maximum ambient temperatures to determine which temperatures correlated to an increase in burn admissions. We obtained ambient temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We reviewed our registry for 5 years retrospectively of all pavement burn injury admissions to our burn center. A total of 173 pavement-related burn cases were identified. We demonstrated an exponential increase in the rate of burn admissions as maximum ambient temperatures increased. More than 88% of pavement-related burn injury admissions occurred when the ambient temperature reached 95°F or higher. The risk per day was extrapolated based on the number of pavement burn injury admissions and the number of days at each of the maximum ambient temperatures recorded. The risk of pavement burns in areas of direct sunlight begins around 95°F and increases exponentially as ambient temperatures rise. This information will be used for burn outreach prevention and public health awareness programs. The benefit of this study relates to the entire community since high ambient temperatures put everyone at risk for hot pavement burns.


Burns; Climate; Sunlight; Temperature; Burn centers; Ambient temperature


Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Critical Care | Environmental Health



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