Title: Severe Heatwave in Arizona Causes Surge in Burn Injuries
Maricopa County, Arizona – The scorching heat in Maricopa County has generated alarming repercussions as individuals are experiencing severe burns, some of which are life-threatening. Over the past three to four weeks, the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health has witnessed a surge in patients, resulting in the center’s 45 beds being fully occupied.
In an unexpected turn, a significant number of burn victims, approximately one-third, have suffered injuries from falling and burning themselves on the scalding ground. Particularly, asphalt surfaces have been recording temperatures ranging from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the already blistering air on hot days. Shockingly, even brief contact with the pavement can inflict deep burns, similar to those sustained in house fires.
Treating third-degree burn patients entails multiple surgeries, extensive hospital stays, and long-term reconstructive surgery and therapy. This comes as a surprising development, as normally heat-related illnesses often associated with extreme temperatures, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, are more common than burn injuries.
The medical community has observed various cases related to burns caused by individuals falling onto the heated pavement. Among these cases, doctors tended to an elderly patient who fell out of a wheelchair and suffered burns on her legs. Vulnerable populations, like unhoused individuals and outdoor workers, are also at risk due to their prolonged exposure to the pavement surface, which significantly increases the likelihood of burns.
It is important to note that not only humans but pets too are susceptible to pavement burns. Taking pets for walks during the extreme heat should be approached with caution. Pet owners are advised to either keep their furry companions indoors during heatwaves or walk them on grassy areas earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Furthermore, experts recommend dogs be kept in air-conditioned environments as much as possible during extreme heatwaves. If they must be outside, the exposure should be limited to the shortest possible duration. Although dog booties can offer some defense for their paws, they may not fully prevent burns and can conceal signs of injury, making monitoring crucial.
As heatwaves continue to sweep across various parts of the United States, the rise in burn injuries observed in Maricopa County serves as a distressing reminder of the exceptional dangers associated with extreme temperatures. Authorities and medical professionals are working diligently to raise awareness and provide necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of burns during heatwaves.
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