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Emollient creams are moisturisers that can be used to prevent or treat dry skin conditions like:
They come in a variety of forms: creams, lotions or gels. All cover the skin with a protective film to reduce water loss. They can be very flammable, so are a fire safety concern, especially when used by people who spend extended periods in a bed or armchair due to illness or impaired mobility.
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.
If you care for someone who needs emollient creams, lotions or gels, you can help to keep them safe by understanding and reducing the related risks.
Anyone using paraffin-based emollients regularly should keep well away from fire or naked flames. A build up of paraffin residue on bedding, clothing and dressings can increase flammability.
Switch to emollient products which have the lowest possible petroleum or paraffin content. Speak to the GP or pharmacist for advice about what’s right for the person.
Wash fabrics daily at the highest temperature recommended by the manufacturer with plenty of detergent.
We can provide more specialist advice based on the person you care for's home and individual needs during a home fire safety visit.
Visits can be arranged at any time (24/7), and we even fit free smoke alarms if 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.