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Silent killer: 20,000 burn cases report to Kashmir hospitals every year

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Srinagar: A silent killer appears to be lurking in Kashmir homes.

More than 20,000 cases of burn injuries are being reported in Kashmir every year. Official figures reveal that 15000 burn patients are admitted to different hospitals. Some of the patients develop acute gangrene and some of them succumb to their injuries.

Most of the cases are accidental and the elderly, women, and children are highly vulnerable. Hospital figures reveal that burns by gas stoves and other home appliances are on a rise in the valley.

“We were readying for dinner when the accident happened. I told my husband I will warm the food on the LPG stove. The moment I ignited the stove, flames engulfed me. My husband tried to douse flames with bare hands. In the process, he suffered burn injuries to his hands as well. Later I called neighbors, who took us to hospital,” said a burn patient at SMHS hospital.

 According to Community Medicine Department of Government Medical College (GMC), most of the burn cases are accidental.

“Every year 20,000 people suffer burn injuries. Of them 15000 are admitted to hospitals. During winters, cases increase. Most of the burns are caused by cooking gas leaks. Elderly people are prone to burns. And children suffer burn injuries due to a hot water spill,” the department said.

Dr. Mir Yasir, consultant plastic surgery at Government Super Specialty Hospital, GMC, said more than 50 percent of burn patients are children. “Most of them receive burns due to hot water splash. We call it scalled burn,” he said.

Dr. Mushtaq, head department of Plastic Surgery, Government Super Specialty Hospital, said two factors are important to determine the intensity of the injury. “Temperature of burning agent and the time for which it remained in contact with the body. We have to see whether we can manage the patient at the hospital or he or she needs to be taken to hospital,” he said.

Community Medicine Department of Government Medical College has released a video to create awareness about burn accidents. “Prevention and precaution are important. Never leave items cooking on the stove unattended…Don’t carry children while cooking…Keep hot water out of reach of children…Don’t wear loose clothes while cooking…,” the department said in its awareness video.