People are getting third degree burns from allowing their skin to contact pavement in Las Vegas.
Serves them right for going around barefooted.
Gruesome photographs have revealed horrific burns suffered by people whose bare skin has touched hot sidewalks in the US.
And experts said walkways can be ‘significantly’ hotter than the air temperature in sunny weather and people should avoid touching them.
They even recorded pavement temperatures higher than those used to grill meat on a barbeque.
The warning comes as temperatures in the UK last week hit highs of 38°C (100°F) and Las Vegas, where the study was based, regularly has hotter days.
Doctors said people who have reduced sensation in their feet because of diabetes, or who are drunk or liable to fall over or collapse, are more at risk of burning themselves on a pavement +3
Doctors said people who have reduced sensation in their feet because of diabetes, or who are drunk or liable to fall over or collapse, are more at risk of burning themselves on a pavement
Scientists at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas discovered there were 173 pavement-related burn cases at a health centre in the city between 2013 and 2017.
‘The pavement can be significantly hotter than the ambient temperature in direct sunlight and can cause second-degree burns within two seconds,’ wrote the authors, led by Dr Jorge Vega.
‘Pavement burns account for a significant number of burn-related injuries, particularly in the Southwestern United States.’
Of the 173 injuries, 149 were among people who had only suffered from the pavement burns. Other people had more injuries, such as from road accidents.
Patients ended up with potentially agonising second-degree burns after touching the hot stone, and images show their blackened, raw skin afterwards.
The vast majority of the injuries (88 per cent) happened when it was 35°C (95°F) or hotter outside.
And the risk of burns ‘increases exponentially’ as temperatures rise higher than that, Dr Vega’s team said.
On 44°C (111°F) days the scientists noticed the pavements could be more than 20 degrees hotter, and they recorded ground heats of more than 64°C (147°F).
They explained that this is because pavements absorb heat energy from direct sunlight, storing it up and becoming hotter over the course of the day.
For reference, barbeque companies recommend grilling pork ribs to about 63°C (145°F) – and eggs fry at around 70°C (158°F).
‘This information is useful for burn centers in hotter climates, to plan and prepare for the coordination of care and treatment,’ Dr Vega said.
‘It can also be used for burn injury prevention and public health awareness, including increased awareness and additional training to emergency medical service and police personnel when attending to pavement burn victims in the field.’
Second-degree burns, like the ones suffered by people in the study, are ones which affect the upper and deeper layers of skin.
They are called partial thickness burns and damage all the skin they touch. They may cause pain, blisters, swelling and red or peeling skin.
While the researchers said people should avoid hot pavements if they can, they acknowledged some people may not be able to.
Disabled people, those with conditions which could cause them to collapse at random, small children, people drunk or high on drugs, those with poor sensation in their feet because of diabetes, or people in road accidents may be more likely to burn themselves.