As temperatures rise, Arizona Burn Center sees increase in injuries from hot pavement

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 1:44pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2023 - 11:48am
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Scorching temperatures are back in the Valley, and the Arizona Burn Center — Valleywise Health reports it’s busy treating patients with contact burns from hot pavement. 

On a triple-digit day in the full sun, asphalt can heat up to 180 degrees, said Arizona Burn Center director, Dr. Kevin Foster. 

“At that temperature, it only takes a fraction of a second to get a second-degree burn and exposure to a minute or longer results in a third-degree burn," Foster said. 

In the last few years, the Arizona Burn Center has seen a spike in these injuries. Foster said patients are often older adults with mobility issues who fall and can’t get off the ground quickly. But he said he’s seeing a growing number of patients whose falls are related to drug use. He said about 30% of contact burn cases involve people who are homeless.

The Arizona Burn Center reports it had had 85 admissions from these burns last summer. On average, those patients needed two surgeries and were hospitalized for 16 days. Seven of the patients died.

Hear Dr. Kevin Foster on The Show with host Lauren Gilger

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