Wound Care Treatment for Burns – Learn the Basics

Burn Wound CareA burn is an injury to the flesh caused by such things as heat, chemicals, friction or electricity. The types of burns include superficial or first degree burns that affect only the epidermis (top layer of the skin), partial thickness or second degree burns that reach into the dermis (second layer) and full-thickness or third degree burns that go through all the layers of the skin. Fourth degree burns are most serious and require immediate medical attention and treatment, as these extend through the entire skin as well as the underlying fat, muscle and bone.

Burn wound care is important to avoid infection and help in the healing process. Most clinics use a wound care EHR to enhance patient care and facility performance across the wound care continuum. The very first thing to do is to cool down the burn area quickly. Cooling the burn prevents this central, deeper area from expanding and thereby worsening the burn. However, this cooling should depend on the type of burns caused.

Never use ice for thermal burns, as it could cause freeze-burn. Instead, place the affected area under cool running water from the tap until the area is cool to the touch. For burns caused by electric shock, if the patient is conscious, cool the entry and exit wounds and cover with a dry, clean dressing before seeking medical attention. Some chemical wounds react differently to water and may get worsened by it. For skin burns caused by any household chemicals, patients can rinse off under cold water and cover with a clean, dry dressing before seeking medical attention.

Factors that enable faster healing include better wound care, good nutrition, maintenance of function, edema reduction, prevention of burn wound infection, positive attitude and co-operation from the patient.

When admitted to a wound clinic, patients will receive an initial cleaning, or debridement. After pain medication is given, blisters, loose tissue and debris are removed. Depending on the depth and stage of the burn, there are many types of ointments and creams that are used. Various biologic, biosynthetic and synthetic wound dressings are used in burn care. Selection and use of these products depends on the condition of the wound bed, the inherent properties of the dressing and the goals of therapy.

Factors to be considered while selecting a dressing are:

  • Depth, site and extent of the burn
  • Type of first aid
  • Cause of the burn
  • Functional impact of dressing on patient’s lifestyle, and
  • Associated pain

Wound documentation can be done more accurately using wound management software. Each wound assessment will be recorded thoroughly for further reference, helping with ongoing wound management.