Emollient skin products are widely prescribed and dispensed for various skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
They are safe to use but can soak into clothing, dressings and bedding leaving a flammable residue.
If exposed to a naked flame or a heat source, such as a cigarette, lighter, gas cooker, heater or fire, these saturated fabrics can catch fire; the paraffin residue will help the fire develop and spread rapidly which could result in serious injury or death.
Hand sanitizer gels, with their high alcohol content, can also present a similar risk of ignition if exposed to a naked flame.
To reduce the chances of this happening, we suggest the following:
Avoid smoking or using naked flames (and being near to others who do) whilst these products are in contact with your clothes, dressings or bandages.
If you do smoke, where possible use fire retardant covers, bedding and/or blankets. Ensure safe disposal of smoking materials.
Try and ensure clothes and bedding are changed regularly (if possible daily) as the skin product soaks into fabrics and is a potential fire hazard.
Be careful to ensure that the product does not soak in to chairs or other furniture. Don’t sit too close to open fires or portable heaters.
Be careful as skin creams can cause the bath/shower to become slippery as it does wash off the body.
Explain to relatives, carers or anyone else in close contact about your treatment - show them this information. Carers may wish to consider adding this and other safety information to a care plan.
Treatment is important, but it is also essential to stay safe when these products are being used. Alternative water based products which are safer may be suitable. Seek medical advice before changing any medical products.