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Affinity Health talks Safety, Prevention, and Treatment of Burns

Affinity Health – providers of affordable health cover for all South Africans – encourages the public to learn about preventing burn injuries and protecting yourself and your loved ones.

How Can You Prevent Getting Burned?

In light of National Burn Safety Awareness Week from 6 to 12 May, Affinity Health highlights burn prevention and emergency plans.


Burn injury happens in seconds but can change a person’s life forever.


With winter on the horizon, many families turn up the heat to keep the chills at bay. That means more coal-burning fires, more paraffin heaters, and electrical heating appliances, as well as the increased use of candles.


Sadly, this time of year is a window of opportunity for burn accidents to happen. Burns vary in degrees and, so too, require different types of treatment depending on their severity. Despite being preventable, an estimated 180 000 people worldwide dying every year due to burns. The vast majority of fatalities occurring in low- and middle-income households.


In South Africa, a leading cause of burn accidents is thermal injuries from kerosene (paraffin) cookstove incidents. Tragically, many of the victims are children. In fact, a South African survey showed thermal injuries to be the commonest external cause of child death. Most of these children are between 4 and 18 years old, where burns are the 3rd highest cause of death.


“It’s crucial that every South African knows burn prevention. This includes basic awareness around fire safety precautions, such as having working smoke alarms/detectors in your home. Have an escape plan if a fire should occur, as well as fire extinguishing equipment should you ever need it,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


Children should be taught about Stop, Drop, & Roll – an important method used to smother flames.


If clothes catch fire:

  1. Stop where you are.
  2. Drop to the ground and cover your eyes and mouth with your hands.
  3. Roll over and over and back and forth until the flames are out.

Keep Children Away from Matches, Fires or Heating Elements

All parents should know the emergency number of their closest fire department and basic first-aid care for burn victims.


The treatment of a burn is dependent upon the severity of the injury. In general, first-degree burns can be adequately treated with proper first-aid measures administered at home.


Second-degree burns can cover more than 15 percent of an adult’s body or 10 percent of a child’s body. Burns that affect the face, hands, or feet, should receive prompt medical attention, as should all third-degree burns.


“In the case of burns due to open flames, it’s always advisable to seek medical attention to rule out any respiratory complications. Smoke inhalation ranks as a major cause of death in burn patients,” explains Murray.


The same applies in the case of an electrical burn – see your doctor or health care provider right away even if the electrical burn appears ‘mild’. That’s because an electrical burn sometimes causes mild skin damage, but there can still be severe internal organ and tissue damage.”


Read More Burn Emergency Plans here:


Affinity Health attends to numerous emergency calls through their 24/7 pre-authorisation department and emergency response partners, Affinity Rescue and iER. Their Casualty Room Benefit covers treatment for Emergency Medical Conditions, while Affinity Rescue covers medical stabilisation for life-threatening situations.


iER is a dedicated emergency response and disaster management network, connecting you to medical, non-medical and security response units nationwide. They are a centralised 24/7 call centre that dispatches emergency personnel in response to instant alerts can you send through the iER mobile app. The mobile application is functional on Android, HarmonyOS and iOS mobile devices.

Download the iER app here.


About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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