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Posted - Apr. 12, 2004 at 8:40 a.m.



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Apr 12, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- ANTI-SCALD DEVICES CAN HELP PREVENT BURNS

Researchers say anti-scald devices can help prevent some of the 3,800 burn injuries from hot tap water suffered each year mostly by the very young and old. Scientists at the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center are launching a scald injury prevention campaign. They note severe damage to adult skin can occur in 30 seconds when exposed to water heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it takes up to five minutes for skin to be severely burned if the hot water heating system is maintained and distributed at the recommended 120 F, giving people time to react, says Dr. Paul Taheri, center director. He says hot water will affect the thinner, more sensitive skin of children and the elderly in half the time. He recommends anti-scald mechanical devices, such as thermostatic mixing valves, be installed near the water heater to mix the hot and cold water to a safer 120 F. In addition, anti-scald safety devices that limit the water flow to a trickle if it exceeds 120 F should be installed on showerheads and faucets, Taheri says.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING SCALDING

Steps such as checking for hot water heating system anti-scald devices can help spare you a scalding injury, scientists say. They say most such injuries occur in the elderly and in children under 5, either in the bathtub or the shower. They say if you live in an apartment complex, nursing home or assisted living facility, ask the landlord about temperature control devices and inspect them. Use a master mixing valve, point-of-use temperature control device on shower valves and maximum temperature limit stops on faucets and shower valves to prevent water hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit from reaching you. The scientists at the University of Michigan also advise that you: set your hot water heater at 120 degrees F, make sure the plumbing work is done by a licensed plumber through the local code official with all the necessary permits and inspections, have hot water heating systems properly maintained, never leave a child alone while drawing water in a bathtub or bathing, test the water temperature before bathing or showering and, be aware without proper anti-scald devices the water temperature can spike to scalding temperature.

BRIGHT CLOTHING, WHITE HELMET CAN CUT MOTORCYCLE DEATHS

Motorcyclists can cut their risk of being injured or dying in a crash by one-third if they wear bright clothing and a white helmet and use headlights in the day. The results are reported in a New Zealand study, published in the British Medical Journal. In the study of nearly 1,700 motorcycle drivers, the researchers found those wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing had a 37 percent lower risk of suffering a crash-related injury than other drivers. Those wearing a white, rather than black, helmet had a 24 percent lower risk. In addition, daytime use of headlights was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of injury.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS, CHILDREN MAY NOT MIX

Scientists caution about using antidepressants to treat children with depression. They report in the British Medical Journal they found some shortcomings in six published trials that tested the drugs. The trials were paid for by drug companies, which remunerated the authors of at least three of the four larger studies. The researchers said the trials appeared to exaggerate some of the drug benefits and downplay some side effects. The authors say the control groups, which did not use the drugs, showed strong improvement, while there appeared to be few additional benefits of any significance from the drugs. There may be non-drug treatments that may be both safer and more effective for children than the antidepressants, said study author Jon Jureidini of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Women's and Children's Hospital in North Adelaide, Australia.

(Editors: For more information about BURNS, contact Krista Hopson at (734) 764-2220. For TIPS, Krista Hopson at (734) 764-2220. For MOTORCYCLE, Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or edickinson@bmj.com. For CHILDREN, Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or edickinson@bmj.com)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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