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  • General practice pharmacist scheme evaluation indicates ‘improved capacity’ as the main benefit

    General practice pharmacist scheme evaluation indicates ‘improved capacity’ as the main benefit

    Tuesday, 31 July 2018 15:31
  • Asthma deaths levels increase by a quarter in a decade

    Asthma deaths levels increase by a quarter in a decade

    Thursday, 26 July 2018 15:08
  • NPA and Age UK ask for help on building polypharmacy dossier

    NPA and Age UK ask for help on building polypharmacy dossier

    Wednesday, 25 July 2018 13:46
  • Pharmacy bodies welcome Health Secretary’s pledge to invest in community pharmacy

    Pharmacy bodies welcome Health Secretary’s pledge to invest in community pharmacy

    Tuesday, 24 July 2018 12:53
  • NHS Digital seeks views on SCR with Additional Information

    NHS Digital seeks views on SCR with Additional Information

    Tuesday, 24 July 2018 12:41

Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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steamMarch 7 2016

The risks of injury for children from using steam inhalation therapy mean it should not be recommended, a study has concluded.

Data from the regional burns centre in Swansea between January 2010 and February 2015 was analysed to identify patients attending for steam inhalation therapy scalds. Sixteen children with an average age of 7.4 years (range 1-15 years) were found to have attended, an average of three children each year.

The most common indication for using the therapy was the common cold. Children attending the unit had burns covering an average of 3.1% of total body area, but ranging from 0.25% to 17%. Treatment was usually managed by dressings, but one patient had required surgery and another was admitted to a high-dependency unit. In all, treatment costs amounted to £37,133.

Patients mostly used bowls of hot water, with two using a commercially made vaporiser, said the study. “The mechanism of hot water spillage from a bowl on a child’s lap, or a child kicking or falling into a bowl of hot water, explains the most common anatomical sites affected: the thigh/leg and the groin/genitalia.”

The researchers from the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery in Swansea also sent an electronic survey to 150 local GPs to ask whether they recommended steam inhalation to patients. Of 21 responses, 17 GPs said they recommended steam inhalation, and eight out of 19 GPs recommended the therapy for children aged under five years.

“Steam inhalation incurs a significant cost to patients and the healthcare system,” concluded the study authors. “Its practice continues to be recommended by GPs but children, due to their limited motor skills, curiosity, and poor awareness of danger, are at significant risk of burn injuries and this dangerous practice should no longer be recommended.”

Link:

S Al Himdani et al. ‘Home remedy or hazard? management and costs of paediatric steam inhalation therapy burn injuries’. BJGP. Published online March 1 2016

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