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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How should a burn be treated?

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  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Jillian Tomlinson

    Hand Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Jill Tomlinson is a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon. After graduating dux in her year at University High School, Jill completed medical … View Profile

    The appropriate treatment varies depending on the severity of a burn.
    All burns should receive immediate first aid treatment which involves running the affected area under cold water for 20 minutes. This is effective in the first few hours after a burn and can reduce the amount of tissue damage that the burn causes. The application of cold water (or cool compresses) is also a very effective method or reducing pain. Do not apply ice to a burn.
    If you have any concerns about a burn it is advisable to seek prompt medical attention. Wrap the burned area in plastic cling wrap (from your kitchen) as a temporary dressing.
    Aspects of treatment that are best directed by a doctor include the choice of pain medications and the type of dressings. Simple burns do not require treatment with antibiotics. Elevating the affected area will help reduce swelling and improve healing. Burns are best treated by a doctor who has special knowledge and expertise because if burns are not treated properly this can delay your healing and lead to avoidable complications - so don't be afraid to seek help.

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