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Hot pavement can cause second-degree burns in two seconds

Monday, July 29th 2019, 5:27 pm - During a heatwave, it's not uncommon for temperatures to climb to 40 degrees Celsius or above.

That can cause a lot of health issues, including second-degree burns -- and not just from the sun.

A new study by a team of surgeons at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Medicine (UNLV) examined 173 local pavement-related burn cases between 2013 and 2017 and found that more than 88 per cent of the injuries occurred when outdoor temperatures were 35 degrees or higher, with the risk increasing exponentially when temperatures exceeded 40 degrees.

When exposed to direct sunlight, pavement absorbs radiant energy. On a day when the temperature measures around 43 degrees Celsius, exposed pavement can get as hot as 64 degrees.

Experts say that's hot enough to cause a second-degree burn in as little as two seconds.

"This information is useful for burn centers in hotter climates, to plan and prepare for the coordination of care and treatment," study lead author Dr. Jorge Vega says 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."

The study, called "A 5-Year Review of Pavement Burns from a Desert Burn Center," was published in the July/August 2019 issue of the Journal of Burn Care & Research.

Source: UNLV (Press release)

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