Copyright ©The Author(s) 2017. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Dermatol. May 2, 2017; 6(2): 17-26
Published online May 2, 2017. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v6.i2.17
Review of the initial treatment and avoidance of scald injuries
Ryan T Bourdon, Brittany B Nelson-Cheeseman, John P Abraham
Ryan T Bourdon, Emergency Department, Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN 55101, United States
Brittany B Nelson-Cheeseman, John P Abraham, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN 55105-1079, United States
Author contributions: Bourdon RT, Nelson-Cheeseman BB and Abraham JP contributed equally to this work; Abraham JP contributed to conceiving this paper and writing portions of this paper; Bourdon RT contributed to writing portions of this paper and reviewing the manuscript; Nelson-Cheeseman BB contributed to writing portions of this paper and reviewing the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts. John Abraham has served on burn injury court cases in the past.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dr. John P Abraham, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105-1079, United States.
Telephone: +1-651-9625766
Received: August 23, 2016
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.

Keywords: Scald injury, Skin burns, Biological heating, Hot beverages, Burn depth

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.