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Hot Pavement Can Burn Feet in Seconds

More education needed to warn of burn risk from hot pavement, particularly as temps exceed 100

WEDNESDAY, July 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Hot pavement poses a burn risk, particularly when outside temperatures reach greater than 95 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Burn Care & Research.

Jorge Vega Jr., M.D., from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and colleagues reviewed pavement burn injury admissions at a desert burn center and compared maximum ambient temperatures (using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on those days to determine which temperatures correlated to an increase in burn admissions.

There were 173 pavement-related burn cases recorded from 2013 to 2017. The researchers found an exponential increase in the rate of burn admissions as maximum ambient temperatures exceeded 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The vast majority of pavement-related burn injury admissions (88 percent) occurred when the ambient temperature reached ≥95 degrees Fahrenheit. The investigators note that the pavement can be significantly hotter than the ambient temperature in direct sunlight and can cause second-degree burns within two seconds. For instance, with an outside temperature of 111 degrees Fahrenheit, the sidewalk can reach 147 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This information is useful for burn centers in hotter climates, to plan and prepare for the coordination of care and treatment,” Vega said in a statement. “It can also be used for burn injury prevention and public health awareness, including increased awareness and additional training to emergency medical service and police personnel when attending to pavement burn victims in the field.”

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