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Adult Campfire Burns: Two Avenues for Prevention

Klein, Matthew B. MD†; Heimbach, David M. MD*; Honari, Shari RN*; Engrav, Loren H. MD†; Gibran, Nicole S. MD*

Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation: September/October 2005 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - pp 440-442
Burn Prevention Section

Campfires are a common component of outdoor festivities. Pediatric campfire burns have been well described. Adult campfire injuries also are common and have several important distinguishing characteristics. We performed a retrospective review of adult patients admitted with campfire burns to our burn center from July 1998 to July 2003. Medical records were reviewed with attention to mechanism of injury, intoxication level, burn size, and surgeries performed. A total of 27 patients with this injury were treated as inpatients over the course of the study period. Two distinct mechanisms of injury emerged: 1) contact with the campfire and 2) flash/flame injuries from igniting the fire. Eighty-one percent (13/16) of patients who sustained contact burns were intoxicated, as compared with 11% (1/11) of those who sustained flash/flame injuries. Nearly half of the patients with contact burns and more than half the patients with flash/flame burns required excision and grafting.

From the *Burn Center and †Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.

Address correspondence to: Matthew B. Klein, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98104.

Funded in part by a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

©2005The American Burn Association