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Latest data on burn injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia released

burns-scalds

Burns account for a small fraction (1%) of all hospitalisations due to injury in Australia; however they are often the most serious and can result in numerous repeat admission and long lengths of stay reports the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The Hospitalised burn injuries Australia 2013–14 Report presents data, collected from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014, on the cases of burn injury requiring hospitalisation across Australia.

According to the World Health Organisation a burn is an injury to the skin or other organic tissue primarily caused by heat or due to radiation, radioactivity, electricity, friction or contact with chemicals. A scald is a type of burn when hot liquids destroy some or all of the cells in the skin or other tissues. In the current report burns and scalds are collectively termed burns.

In 2013-14 there were 5,430 cases of hospitalisation due to burns in Australia with about two-thirds of these admissions being males (3,654). Despite the relatively low number of hospitalisations due to burns occurring than other injury areas (such as falls, road trauma and suicide and self- harm), the average length of stay in hospital was seven days.

Depending on the severity of the burn, treatment of burn patients can be expensive, complex and resource intensive. Initially the patient will require a period of acute care, followed by a long period of rehabilitation and multiple outpatient visits. The availability of specialised burn treatment centres is often of paramount importance in the survival and recovery rates of severely burned individuals.

Survivors of severe burns often experience long-term physical and psychosocial consequences that are partly due to the trauma of the event in which they sustained the burn.

The AIHW report also revealed that 9% of hospitalisations due to burns were of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is a rate disproportionately higher than their non-Indigenous counterparts (58 hospitalisations per 100,000 population compared to 22 cases per 100,00).

Across all Australians, 45% of hospitalisations due to burns were caused by contact with heat and hot substances. This includes burns due to spilling hot drinks, foods, fats and cooking oils, coming in to contact with hot water or other hot liquids, as well as touching hot cooking or heating appliances.

The remaining 55% of hospitalisations were due to exposure to smoke, fire and flames (29%) and other external causes such as explosion of gas or other materials and exposure to electrical current (26%).

To access the full report visit: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129557700&tab=2

For more information about the impact of Burns and Scalds in Western Australia and effective interventions to reduce the risk of burns and scalds from occurring please visit: http://knowinjury.org.au/know/burn-and-scalds/