Minor Burn Treatment Strategies: 4 Key Therapies To Consider

Burns are a common injury that range in severity and treatment indications. Wound care experts and emergency physicians are always looking for new and innovative ways to employ burn treatments that prevent infection, promote healing, and offer higher rates of patient comfort. Join us as we look at various burn treatments, and how you can use these methods in individual and multi-modal approaches to ensure higher patient outcomes.

 

Unfortunately, burns are a common injury seen and treated by physicians in a number of settings. While severe burns may require more intensive medical treatment, minor burn wounds can be much more manageable and can be treated using a number of therapies. Let’s zoom in to three specific therapies that are clinically supported in the treatment of minor burn wounds.

Wound Dressings

Superficial lesions are more likely to heal on their own without the use of skin grafting treatment, or other therapies required for larger scale burns. However, appropriate dressing of the wound is recommended as a means to promote healing and prevent infection¹. Wound dressing can ensure important factors, such as keeping the wound clean and moist during the healing phase². Several types of dressings are indicated in the treatment of superficial burns, including moistened gauze dressings, thin hydrocolloid bandages, and polyurethane films. Wound dressings used for minor burns can also employ medicine to the wound bed site or be moistened to promote hydration, this allows the dressing to dually function as a medical treatment and protective layer to the wound bed. When choosing a wound dressing, it is ideal to consider the following factors:

  • The dressing should be able to handle large amounts of exudate
  • The application and removal should be as minimally painful as possible
  • The dressing should provide a moist wound bed environment
  • The dressing should be non-toxic, non-allergic, and have no adverse effects
  • The dressing should create, or help to sustain, an antimicrobial environment

With these considerations in mind, it is also important to employ a dressing that is readily available, cost-effective, and easy to apply and remove if the patient will require continued re-dressing at home. The length of dressing treatment depends on the time required for wound healing, which is generally indicated by a pink, fully epithelialized wound surface.

Topical Treatments & Moisturizing Creams

Silver Sulfadiazine

Creams and ointments containing silver sulfadiazine have often been recommended in the treatment of minor wounds due to its efficacious antimicrobial properties². However, this topical treatment requires daily dressing changes which can be time-consuming and painful for patients maintaining burn treatment at home². Silver sulfadiazine also may produce a pseudo-eschar (a thick, yellow gelatinous covering over a wound bed), which can create challenges for visual inspection of the wound site and may be linked to lower rates of skin re-epithelialization².

Moisturizing Creams

Because minor burns often contribute to skin dryness and priorities in the localized area, topical application of moisturizing creams may be an effective means to promote hydration to the skin, and reduce skin irritation and itching. While a number of topical moisturizing creams exist, some clinical literature suggests a water-based sorbolene cream is a suitable and cost-effective treatment for minor burns with intact, non-blistered skin².

It is important to note that these creams do not contain anti-microbial properties and depending on the product formulation may or may not lead to further skin irritation or dryness. Ingredient additives, such as Vitamin E, have no conclusive clinical evidence that supports their efficacy in scar prevention or management². Furthermore, topical moisturizing creams should be avoided when any open skin or blistering is present on the burn site, even in minor burns.

Antibacterial Topicals & Ointments

Although topical ointments do provide a soothing and non-adhesive layer over a minor burn, little clinical literature documents that the application of these traditional ointments serves to promote healing or prevent infection of the wound site³. In one study, researchers compared the efficacy of antibacterial ointments and petroleum in the treatment of minor burns, both topicals lead to similar outcomes³.

Hypochlorous Acid: An Old Solution, Now Truly Advanced

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) wound care solutions have been around for decades. In fact, crude, non-stable formulations of HOCl were used to treat battlefield wounds during WWI and WWII.

In modern day, HOCl presents simple and effective solution for treating minor burns, and can be applied with traditional treatment strategies for increased efficacy and advanced healing. Hypochlorous acid is a natural antimicrobial, with hydrating and anti-biofilm properties that make it an ideal solution for burn treatment. Best of all, as a molecule it strikes a unique combination as it’s as safe as saline but more antimicrobial than most products or chemicals used in wound care today.

A Prime Example

In a 2021 case study published by Wound Healing Southern Africa, researchers evaluated the efficacy of hypochlorous acid in the treatment and management of an infected burn wound on a 44-year old man⁴. The patient had previously received treatment for the burn at a local hospital, where the wound was cleansed with a chlorhexidine solution and dressed. 

After two weeks of continued treatment, however, the patient was experiencing infection and inflammation on the burn site.

Roos, H., Kana, B., & Naude, L. (2021). The use of hypochlorous acid in an infected burn wound–a case study. Wound Healing Southern Africa, 14(1), 21-24.

 

Following inspection the burn site was treated with hypochlorous acid as the preliminary cleanser, and also dressed with a hypochlorous-acid moistened dressing⁴. This treatment with HOCl was initially introduced on Day 16, and by Day 30 the patient no longer required dressings or treatment⁴.

BIHOCL PureCleanse: Purely Advanced Care

What makes hypochlorous such an innovative solution for burn management is that it not only acts to prevent and eliminate bacterial bioburden that can lead to slower healing and infection, but it also helps to hydrate and promote healing in the wound site⁴⁻⁵.

To this end, BIHOCL PureCleanse can be used as a preliminary cleansing agent on minor burns to reduce bacteria present on the burn site. This can be done through many methods; one of which is the utilization of a topical irrigation system. Our line of BIHOCL PureCleanse products incorporates optimal irrigation innovations with the added efficacy of our pure hypochlorous — a potent-yet-safe non-cytotoxic antimicrobial.

In addition to hypochlorous acid’s ability to act as a preliminary cleanser, the solution can also be utilized as a therapy in moist wound dressing, where gauze or other dressing material is dampened with the solution and applied to the wound site. This means HOCl has dual abilities in burn management as an antiseptic and topical solution.

Hypochlorous is also a non-labour intensive means of treating minor burns since the solution can be sprayed or poured directly onto the skin regularly, or be used in moist-dressing, meaning patients can continue therapy at-home with ease.

Get in Touch

If you’re interested in learning more about HOCl products tailored for wound and minor burn management, check out BIHOCL PureCleanse which combines the efficacy of pure hypochlorous acid with an effective pressurized cleansing device.

Or, as always, Contact Us to continue the discussion today!

References

  1. Hermans, M. H. (2005). A general overview of burn care. International wound journal, 2(3), 206-220.
  2. Hyland, E. J., Connolly, S. M., Fox, J. A., & Harvey, J. G. (2015). Minor burn management: potions and lotions. Australian prescriber, 38(4), 124.
  3. Roberts, J. R. (2003). Minor Burns: Dressings, Antibiotics, and Blisters. Emergency Medicine News, 25(4), 42-45.
  4. Roos, H., Kana, B., & Naude, L. (2021). The use of hypochlorous acid in an infected burn wound–a case study. Wound Healing Southern Africa, 14(1), 21-24.
  5. Robson, M. C., Payne, W. G., Ko, F., Mentis, M., Donati, G., Shafii, S. M., ... & Bassiri, M. (2007). Hypochlorous acid as a potential wound care agent: part II. Stabilized hypochlorous acid: its role in decreasing tissue bacterial bioburden and overcoming the inhibition of infection on wound healing. Journal of Burns and Wounds, 6.

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