Emollient creams and paraffin based creams are frequently used to treat dry skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. These products are safe to use but can soak into clothing, dressings and bedding leaving a flammable residue particularly when used in large quantities or when applied to large areas of the body.
If exposed to a naked flame or a heat source, such as a cigarette, lighter, gas cooker, candle or heater, these saturated fabrics can easily catch fire; the paraffin residue will help the fire develop and spread rapidly which could result in serious injury or death.
The latest research has shown that even low paraffin content creams and some non paraffin based emollients can increase the flammability of fabrics.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has produced a video aimed at care professionals, which demonstrates the potential fire hazards associated with paraffin-based skin products. It describes a house fire in 2015, which tragically resulted in the death of a 74-year-old woman who used this type of skin product.
Unfortunately, this sort of incident is not uncommon and has resulted in a number of fatalities but you can do something to reduce the risk.
So what can you do to reduce the risk?
Take a look at the essential information provided on the Emollient Cream Fire Risk letter for advice on how to reduce the risk.
Essential Information - Emollient Cream Fire Risk (new window, PDF 365KB)