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GW Expert: Rise in Burn Injuries During Extreme Heat Wave in the U.S.

Hospitals and burn centers in the Southwest United States are reporting an increase in burn injuries from touching everyday surfaces that are baking under record temperatures. According to The Wall Street Journal, burn centers are treating people who touch hot door handles, walk barefoot on scorching surfaces or fall on sun-scorched pavement, even if briefly, for severe burns. The extreme heat wave is blanketing much of the U.S., with brutal hot temperatures spreading to the Northeast. Overall, ABC News reports July is poised to be the hottest month in recorded history.

Adriana Glenn is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at George Washington University. Her research interests include studying how families of children with rare diseases use the internet for communications as well as addressing issues regarding culture and health.

Glenn has 30 years of experience as a family nurse practitioner. She maintains her clinical practice as a nurse practitioner for the Virginia Department of Health, City of Alexandria. Her previous clinical experiences include cardiac critical care, providing health care in educational settings (K-12 public schools, higher education institutions) and working in a variety of community and public health environments including urgent care, occupational/employee health, community clinics and public health departments and clinics.

Glenn can discuss how extreme heat can impact people – directly and indirectly – and how it can aggravate conditions in those individuals who are very young, older, and with chronic illnesses. She can also share what people need to know about treating burns: what to look for in the severity of the burn and when to seek professional care. Glenn says people may not truly suspect the severity of burns that can occur by touching ordinary objects superheated by extreme heat.

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