No ice, no toothpaste for burn injuries, say KGMU experts

Lucknow, April 28: Contrary to the common practice of rubbing ice or applying toothpaste, it is better to keep the affected burn area under flowing water until the pain stops.

This is the best thing to do in case of burns, said experts at the ongoing medical education event WOUNDCON 2024 hosted by the Society for Wound Care and Research at King George’s Medical University (KGMU).

According to the faculty member in KGMU’s plastic surgery department, Prof Brijesh Mishra, rubbing ice and applying toothpaste or oil on a burn might seem like common remedies, but they can actually do more harm than good.

“Ice can freeze the skin and halt blood flow while toothpaste has hard stuff like calcium and peppermint that can worsen burns and oil traps heat, making burns harder to cool,” explained Mishra, warning that these methods raise the infection risk.

Head of KGMU’s plastic surgery department, Prof Vijay Verma, advised, “The best approach is to rinse the affected under running water, cover with fresh bed linens, and seek medical help promptly in case of severe burns. Increasing hydration and protein intake is crucial for healing damaged skin, muscles, and tissues. For electrical burns, apply a sterile bandage or clean cloth; avoid blankets or towels to prevent fibres from sticking to the burned skin.”

Dr K.S. Murthy, another plastic surgeon, highlighted the efficacy of fish skin products in healing burn wounds. “Fish skin products rich in omega fats and fatty collagen acids are now available in purified forms. They show promising results when applied to wounds,” he added.

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