The first full week of February 2021 is National Burn Awareness Week, and our attorneys at Davis Levin Livingston are proud to join the American Burn Association (ABA) in observing the week by raising awareness of the prevalence and danger of burn injuries throughout the United States. Per the ABA’s statistics, annually, this issue affects more than 450,000 U.S. residents.
Our award-winning burn injury team has advocated for the survivors of many different types of burn accidents for years. Sadly, there is a variety of situations that can lead to such injuries, from gas explosions, to vehicle accidents, to coming into contact with caustic chemicals, and more. That is why the ABA focuses on a different type of burn every year: For 2021, the theme is “Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap (A to Z).”
All About Electrical Burns
Electrical burns include any burn sustained due to a person’s contact with a current of electricity. Although we have become accustomed to having electricity in our homes and almost everywhere we go, electrical currents still pose a significant danger to us when not confined to wires or covered outlets. After all, it is not uncommon knowledge that electrocution can lead to serious injury or even death.
One quality of electrical burns that makes them particularly dangerous is the fact that they can damage internal tissues and organs without affecting the outermost layers of skin. This means that a person can suffer severe internal injuries but appear fine on the outside. For instance, electrical burns often damage the following:
- Heart: These burns can cause abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.
- Kidneys: One or both kidneys may stop working as a result of this class of burn.
- Muscles: These burns can terribly impact the muscles (in some cases even the bones), which can lead to muscle weakness or rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which damaged muscle cells leak substances into the blood.
- Nervous system: It is very common for people who suffer electrical burns to pass out or suffer eye or ear damage.
Treatment of Electrical Burns
There is no question that electrical burns can have catastrophic consequences, making it crucial to consult a health care professional immediately. It is not advised to wait and see if everything will be okay in a day or two; your condition could worsen and end up requiring more medical care and/or being more difficult to treat if you wait.
As for treatment itself, whatever you receive will greatly depend on the location of the burn site and how severe the burn was. Often, electrical burn treatment tends to include pain medication, surgery to fix severely damaged organs or areas, and/or antibiotic ointments and creams.
Preventing Electrical Burns
The best way to avoid being burned is to take preventative measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from coming into contact with open electrical currents. This can include covering up all electrical outlets, when not in use, with child safety covers and replacing wires as soon as they begin to fray. Some other key prevention tips to remember include:
- Do NOT use electrical devices near open water;
- Do NOT walk outside during a lightning storm;
- Do NOT put a metal utensil, such as a fork, into a toaster;
- Do NOT touch metal to an open electrical outlet; and
- Do NOT approach a downed power line.
In observance of National Burn Awareness Week, from February 7th to 13th, we invite you to help us spread awareness of this issue. From educating your loved ones on how to protect themselves from burns and posting on social media, to wearing the red burn awareness ribbon when you venture outside, to donating to burn care organizations, support groups, and the like, there are dozens of ways you can help.
Legal Advocates for Public Safety
At Davis Levin Livingston, we know that burn survivors are not always responsible for their injuries. In fact, electrical burns can easily be sustained due to defective products, unsafe living conditions, haphazardly installed electrical wiring, or precariously perched power lines. If any of these circumstances caused your injury, you may be eligible to file a legal claim against the responsible party to recover compensation.
Contact Davis Levin Livingston online today to speak to an attorney about your legal options. You can also reach us at (808) 740-0633.