Published online May 2, 2017. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v6.i2.17
Peer-review started: August 25, 2016
First decision: September 27, 2016
Revised: January 10, 2017
Accepted: February 8, 2017
Article in press: February 10, 2017
Published online: May 2, 2017
Scald injuries, which describe burns to living tissue from hot liquids, are a very common injury that occur across geographical, social, economic, and national boundaries. Despite their ubiquitous nature, a complete understanding of the conditions which are required to cause scald burns is not yet available. In addition, clear guidance to medical practitioners is available through various guidelines however in actual situations, the extent of the burn is not fully known and this lack of knowledge complicates care. Here, a comprehensive review is made of the available knowledge of temperatures and scald durations which lead to skin-burn injuries. The range of volumes and liquid temperatures are typical of those found in heated consumer beverages. This review can help medical practitioners design initial treatment protocols and can be used by manufacturers of hot-liquid products to avoid the most severe burns. Next, within the context of this ability to quantify burn depths, a review of current burn treatment guidelines is given. Included in this review is a visual recognition of the extent of burns into the dermal layer as well as decision guidelines for selection of patients which would benefit from referral to a dedicated burn center. It is hoped that by bringing together both the quantified burn-depth information and current treatment guidelines, this review can be used as a resource for persons in the medical, manufacturing, beverage service, and other industries to reduce the human impact of scald injuries.
Core tip: This paper presents a concise summary that relates hot-beverage spills to burn injury risk. Not only can this paper be used to predict the depth of burn injuries, but it can also show how service temperature and cooling time can be set to reduce the threat of injury. Results are presented in simple to use tables and graphs for ease to medical practitioners.