Emollient and skin creams are an important and effective treatment used to prevent or treat dry skin conditions like:
They come in a variety of forms: creams, lotions, ointments, gels or sprays . They can also include soap alternatives. They may be water-based, contain paraffin or natural oils. All cover the skin with a protective film to reduce water loss.
Emollients and skin creams alone are not flammable. However, a build up of emollient/skin cream residue (even from just one application) on fabrics such as bedding, clothing and dressings, can increase flammability. These are especially a fire safety concern when used by people who spend extended periods in a bed or armchair due to illness or impaired mobility.
If you care for someone who needs emollient and skin creams, lotions or gels, or if you use these products yourself, you can help to keep them and yourself safe by understanding and reducing the related risks.
Anyone using emollients or skin creams regularly should keep well away from fire, naked flames or heat sources. A build up of residue on bedding, clothing and dressings can increase flammability.
There is a separate page for healthcare equipment including oxygen therapy, dynamic airflow pressure relieving mattresses and incontinence products– and there is specialist advice to support you if you care for a person who is a smoker, or someone who has hoarding disorder.
We can provide more specialist advice based on your home and individual needs, or the home and individual needs of the person you care for, during a home fire safety visit.
Visits can be arranged at any time (24/7), and we even fit free smoke alarms if you or the person you care for needs them. Specialist alarms can also be fitted – for example, strobe light and vibrating pad alarms for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Find out more about home fire safety visits and book one for the person you care for.
If you are a support worker providing care there are some extra steps to take:
It's also a good idea to get some training on how to recognise fire risks. This will help you to spot signs that may indicate the person you care for is at risk of injury from fire and what steps you can take to reduce those risks. There's a good free online course available here.e-Learning with Telecare Services
If any of these signs are combined with limited mobility – for example, if the person you care for is bed bound or spends most of their time in a chair – the person is particularly at risk.
Please consider their needs and make sure appropriate measures are taken so they can safely escape if there is fire. Learn more about escape plans from homes here, and from workplaces (like residential care homes) here.