Herald Sun, Wednesday, August 26, 2009Wheat bags blamed for burns.

A spate of serious burns in Adelaide has been linked to the use of wheat bags heated in microwave ovens. Royal Adelaide Hospital burns unit director John Greenwood said several people had presented with deep burns from prolonged use of the bags.

Dr Greenwood said the risk escalated for the frail and elderly or for people with conditions such as diabetes who might have reduced sensations in their feet in particular.

“One patient presented with the soles of his feet deeply burned due to prolonged exposure to a wheat bag that was over heated in a microwave oven,” he said. “The problem worsens as the wheat bag gets older. With older wheat bags you can sometimes actually smell the wheat burning in the microwave. Older bags get hotter at the same microwave temperature and retain heat for longer.”

Dr Greenwood said that wheat bags should be disposed of at the end of each winter, with the cost of buying a new one nothing compared with the damage they could do.