Hot soup spills can cause severe burns

During lunch at school, eleven-year-old Rex accidentally spilled another student’s ramen soup on his foot. The liquid was warm but not boiling. Still, Rex removed his shoe and sock to inspect his wet foot. When all looked normal, he put the shoe and sock back on his foot and continued eating lunch. Twenty minutes later, he began to feel some pain, after another foot inspection; he noticed a burn was starting to appear.

Five days later Rex would have the first of two surgeries on his foot for a deep third-degree burn. The burn’s infection caused cellulitis that required surgical removal of tissue followed by suturing with cadaver skin to cover the wound and promote healing.

Unfortunately, Rex’s story is more common than parents might imagine.

“Liquids and food particles that are hot can cause burns with continued exposure. In Rex’s case, the sock was warm and left in place for a prolonged period of time causing continued exposure and burn to the foot. Burns, even those that seem minor, should be treated quickly to avoid continued exposure,” Dr. Christopher Crane, pediatric burn director with University Health’s Level 1 pediatric trauma & burn center said.

“Rex did not feel burned immediately. He just went on with his life by putting his wet sock and shoe back on,” Staci Rohde, Rex’s mom said. “When the school nurse called, we got immediate medical treatment for a first- and second-degree burn. However, we did not know that the prolonged exposure to the liquid continued to cause a deep burn to his foot.”

”We had some very intense moments during this experience, but in all, Rex has been a champ. Our intent with sharing his story is to bring awareness to what was a pure and honest accident from a meal that all kids love. Parents love it, too, because it is cheap, warm and easy to make.”

National Burn Awareness Week is Feb. 4-10. Doctors and Rex’s family want to encourage everyone to take precautions when cooking or consuming foods and drinks containing warm liquids. Thoroughly inspect and dry any spill when liquids have direct contact with a person’s skin. It is time to see a doctor if the wound blisters, is increasingly painful or inflamed.

Learn more about University Health’s Level 1 pediatric trauma & burn center.


National Burn Awareness Week


Dr. Christopher Crane and Rex’s mom, Staci Rohde


Virtual interviews available, Tuesday, Feb. 6 from 8 to 9:30 a.m.


Andrea Wazir, senior public relations specialist, 512-762-0457

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