Hot liquids can lead to serious burns
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Hot liquids can lead to serious burns

Scalding hazards are a component of daily life that most people don't really think about too often. Spilling a hot beverage, such as coffee, on yourself or someone else can lead to burns. Opening a hot radiator on a vehicle can lead to steam burns. Even a hot bath can lead to a scald burn if the water is very hot.

In the United States each year, there are more than 500,000 scald burns. These burns are predominately associated with the elderly population and young children. In fact, more burns are associated with hot liquids than those that are associated with flames.

While it is tempting to simply think that scald burns are nothing more than a temporary painful injury, they can actually be life-threatening. Third-degree burns, which are also known as full-thickness burns, can require hospitalization, skin grafts and other intensive medical care.

Suffering from third-degree burns is possible in a very short period of time. If the water is 133 degrees, it will take 15 seconds of exposure to suffer a third-degree burn. That decreases to 5 seconds if the water is 140 degrees and 1 second if the water is 156 degrees.

For those who have suffered a scald burn in an accident, such as a server spilling a hot beverage on them, seeking compensation might be in order. The process for seeking compensation involves filing a case with the civil court. This process must start within a specified period after the accident, so make sure that you are within compliance of that time limit so you don't forfeit the right to seek compensation.

Source: Burn Foundation, "Safety Facts on Scald Burns," accessed April 20, 2016

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