With seven out of every ten Americans owning a grill or smoker, grilling has become a staple of summer and is an activity enjoyed by many. Though cooking up a good meal for your family can be enjoyable, it can also be a hazard to those who are not careful. In this blog, we will explore types of grilling injuries and how to prevent them.
As we continue through summer, there is an increased use of grills as the temperatures get warmer. The National Fire Protection Association states that July is the peak month for grill fires and grill-related injuries followed by June, May, and August.1 The most common type of injury following a grill-related injury is a thermal burn.2 Roughly half of thermal burns come from a grill-related injury. Of these contact thermal burns, one in ten of them will affect a child.2 The most common place for burns to occur is to the hand and may result from a fall on/near the grill, from reaching or touching the grill/hot food, or from improper use of gasoline on a fire.2 There are three types of thermal burns: superficial burns, partial thickness burns, and full thickness burns.
First thing to do is stay calm and stop the burning by removing the affected area from the hot surface or the grill. Next, assess the area of the burn. If there is any blistering or discoloration of the skin (white, brown, or black), you should call a medical professional or emergency services. Finally, do NOT put ice on the burn. Ice can rapidly cool down the skin which may result in death to the skin of the affected area. Instead, use room temperature to slightly cool water or saline to cool down the affected area.3
If you happen to experience a burn when grilling, follow the tips listed above. If you are unsure if you need medical assistance, Athletico offers free assessments where a hand therapist will assess if you need additional care. Remember, following any hand injury, whether it occurred with grilling or not, seeing a hand specialist can support comprehensive and timely care.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Grilling. NFPA. (n.d.). https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Grilling.
2. NFPA Research. (2020). Home Grill Fires. https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/US-Fire-Problem/Fire-causes/osGrills.pdf
3. Schaefer, T. J. (2020, September 18). Thermal Burns. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430773/.
4. NFPA. (2019). Grilling Safety. NFPA.org/education
5. Grilling Safety. Firefighters Burn Institute. (2020, April 16). https://ffburn.org/grilling-safety.