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Burn Treatment

Burn Treatment
Causes and Risk Factors
Burn Treatment

Burn treatment
Minor burns can be treated with natural products or by splashing the skin with water to reduce temperature and stop further damage of the skin. Severe burns, however, always require immediate medical attention. Do not try to treat a second- or third-degree burn by yourself. Always seek medical advice. Treatment for burns aims to relieve pain, reduce swelling, prevent infection, and promote healing.


  • applying ointment, butter, ice, medications, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a severe burn
  • breathing or blowing on the burn
  • disturbing blistered or dead skin
  • immersing a severe burn in cold water (can cause shock)
  • placing a pillow under the person's head (can close the airway)
  • removing clothing that is stuck to the skin

Alternative therapy
Major burns should always be treated by a medical doctor. However, some alternative treatments exist for treating minor burns. As with any therapy, work with your doctor to diagnose and create a treatment plan for burns before starting any treatment.

Electrical stimulation - Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses controlled, low-voltage electrical stimulation of the skin to relieve pain. TENS applied to acupuncture on the ear may relieve pain for people with burns.

Herbs - Minor burns may be treated with herbs, as a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. Herbs can be administered as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Some herbs that might help pain, inflammation, and topical skin burns include:

  • aloe vera
  • calendula officinalis
  • gotu kola (centella asiatica)
  • propolis
  • turmeric

Homeopathy - Homeopathic doctors will evaluate your constitution based on physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup and then determine the most appropriate treatment for you as an individual. Possible therapies may be taken orally or administered locally to a burn and include:

  • arnica montana 
  • calendula
  • causticum 
  • hypericum perforatum 
  • urtica urens 
  • phosphorus 

Hypnosis - Hypnosis may reduce pain and anxiety and enhance relaxation in people with burns.

Therapeutic touch (TT) - TT is based on the theory that the body, mind, and emotions form a complex energy field. During this type of treatment, therapists seek to correct the body's imbalances by moving their hands just over the body to reduce pain and anxiety associated with burns.

Massage - Massage may help ease pain, itching, and anxiety in both the emergency-care and recovery phases for burned skin. Ask your doctor before using massage after a burn.

Good nutrition is important as people recover from burns, because vitamins and minerals have been shown to promote wound healing and prevent the spread of infection. It is especially important for people who have been seriously burned to get enough nutrients in their daily diet. High-calorie, high-protein diets can help speed recovery from skin burns. This is because during severe burns, the plasma of the blood is released through the burn, resulting in lower levels of protein. The following suggestions may also help. Be sure to ask your doctor before taking any dietary supplement if burns are moderate or severe:

  • a daily multivitamin that contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins and trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
  • avoid caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco
  • avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar
  • coenzyme Q10 for antioxidant and immune activity
  • drink 6 - 8 glasses of filtered water daily
  • eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers)
  • eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy) or beans for protein
  • l-glutamine for support of gastrointestinal health and immunity
  • omega-3 fatty acids to help decrease inflammation, and for healing and immunity
  • probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus to improve gastrointestinal and immune health
  • reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids
  • use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • vitamin C helps skin heal by enhancing new tissue growth and strength
  • vitamin E promotes healing and may be used topically once the burn has healed and new skin has formed

Home treatment
Skin care is extremely important during skin burn recovery. Keeping the burned area clean is essential, because the damaged skin is easily infected. Cleaning may be accomplished by gently running water over the burns periodically. Wounds are cleaned and bandages changed 1 to 3 times per day.

Burned skin loses its ability to protect against microorganisms and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Because infections heal slowly and increase scarring, doctors both prevent and treat infections using a number of medications, including:

Antibiotics - Antibiotics are used to treat existing infection are also used if the risk of developing infection is high. Additionally, antibiotic ointments may be applied to first-degree burns.

Antimicrobial ointments - Minor burns are usually treated with topical antimicrobial creams. Ointments such as silver sulfadiazine, mafenide, silver nitrate, and povidone-iodine are used to reduce risk of infection associated with burns. Applied to the affected areas, these ointments can prevent and treat bacterial or fungal infections that may occur.

Pain medications - Acetaminophen with codeine, morphine, or meperidine are often prescribed to relieve the pain associated with severe burns.

People who are burned seriously will be admitted to a hospital. There, doctors will concentrate on keeping the burned area clean and removing any dead tissue through a process called debridement. Later, cosmetic surgery may be done to improve both the function and appearance of the burned area. The most common surgical procedure for treating burns is skin grafting.

Skin grafts - In the case of severe burns, doctors may also suggest skin grafting. Skin grafts are needed to cover burns that will not heal. During a skin grafting procedure, a piece of skin is surgically sewn over the burn, after any dead tissue is removed. The skin can be from another part of the person's body, from a donor, or from an animal (usually a pig). Skin grafts from the person's own body are permanent. Artificial skin may also be used.

Physical therapy
Occupational and physical therapy begin very early for people who are hospitalized for burns. Occupational and physical therapists use a number of techniques to improve movement and function of the areas affected by a burn, and to reduce scar formation. Physical therapy may include:

  • body and limb positioning
  • daily activity - function and ability
  • help with walking
  • passive exercises
  • splinting

To help prevent burns:

  • install smoke alarms in your home (check batteries regularly)
  • explain the possible outcome of contact with corrosive chemicals to children
  • keep children away from stoves and irons
  • plan fire escape routes at home, work, and school
  • place fire extinguishers in key locations
  • remove electrical cords from floors and keep them out of reach
  • set temperature of water heater at 120 degrees or less
  • store corrosive chemical such as acids and bases in places that children cannot reach
  • teach children about fire safety (matches and fireworks)
  • turn pot handles toward the back of the stove
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Tags: treatment, acetaminophen with codeine, Gastrointestinal Health, alternative treatments, antioxidant vitamins, antibiotic ointments, Alternative Therapy, surgical procedure, antioxidant foods, about fire safety, cosmetic surgery, gastrointestinal, healthy cooking, artificial skin, antimicrobial, alternative, acidophilus, antioxidant, medications, temperature
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