Don’t get burned this holiday season!

Easy tips from the U-M Trauma Burn Center


The holiday season is upon us which means I’m back on the UofMHealthBlogs to offer some quick and easy fire safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe during the holidays!

Let me start by introducing myself. I’m the managing director of the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected centers for treating patients who have suffered from burn injuries. We see an average of 1,400 multiple-trauma and burn patients each year.

Many people don’t know that holiday activities are leading causes of U.S. home fires. That’s right. Activities you do each year at this time could actually be putting your home at risk for a fire.

Christmas trees, holiday cooking, candles burning, decorations and fireplaces can all be hazardous to your home.

But, don’t worry! I’m not saying you can’t participate in all of these wonderful family activities. In fact, most home fires and burn injuries can be prevented just by planning ahead and taking preventive steps. Continue reading

Best in the air & on the ground: U-M Survival Flight team wins international competition

Survival Flight simulator

The team works hard to revive their “patient”

A car crash throws a pregnant woman out onto the pavement, gravely wounded – and about to have a baby who will also need immediate life-saving treatment. A medical helicopter lands nearby, and two flight nurses in blue jumpsuits rush to the scene.

Using bags full of advanced medical technology, and brains full of experience with critically ill patients, the nurses treat the woman, deliver the baby, resuscitate both of them after they stop breathing, diagnose and treat unexpected complications, and even reassure distraught relatives as they arrive at the scene.

Then they load their patients onto the waiting helicopter, and speed away at 175 miles an hour toward the University of Michigan Health System’s medical campus. Continue reading

Lighting fireworks for the 4th? Pick a ‘designated lighter’ & keep an eye on the kids

U-M burn prevention expert offers tips & urges early intervention for kids who play with fire

When it comes to fireworks, Karla Klas has seen it all. A young teen whose eye ruptured when a firework went off in his face. A kindergartner seriously burned by a sparkler that ignited his clothes. A middle-aged man who suffered horrifying facial injuries, when he lit fireworks after drinking more than a dozen beers.

Fireworks injuries - courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fireworks injuries – courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

So, as Fourth of July week rolls around, she and her colleagues are bracing for a new crop of fireworks-related injuries to roll in to the U-M Emergency Department and Trauma Burn Center. They care for the most seriously burned and injured patients in the state.

The number of patients injured by fireworks started to climb two years ago, when Michigan legalized the sale of more powerful fireworks in the state. More than 210 registered sellers of fireworks now offer everything from bottle rockets to aerial shells.

Nationally, fireworks hurt more than 7,400 people in the weeks leading up to and immediately after July Fourth. That’s 65 percent of all people hurt by fireworks all year.

“We’re really sending mixed messages to people, who think that because fireworks are legal, they’re safe,” says Klas, who runs the center’s prevention programs and serves as the national prevention committee chair for the American Burn Association. “Plus, local ordinances about when and where you can set them off are all over the map.”

Continue reading

Reduce your risk for falling in snowy conditions

Tips offered by MedSports for fall prevention, injury treatment

Anyone risks injury to their wrist, elbow, ankle or thumb after a fall during cold, slippery weather, but elderly1.fwwinter can be worse for the elderly.

A group of plastic and reconstructive surgeons at the University of Michigan learned those over age 65 have more than 1,000 additional wrist injuries in winter compared to other seasons. By analyzing snow, wind speed and temperatures, the researchers created a ‘Slipperiness Score,’ to identify what days are the most risky for slip and fall injuries.

With many more snowy days ahead for us all, it’s important to understand the causes of these injuries — how to care for them and how to avoid them.

Continue reading