Burns: Frequently Asked Questions

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By Michel H.E. Hermans, MD

Editor's Note: On April 2, 2020, WoundSource hosted its first ever virtual conference, WoundCon Spring 2020. The conference hosted 13 CME/CE accredited sessions that were attended by over 6,000 health care professionals around the world. The response was so enthusiastic, we asked some of our speakers to answer the most frequently asked questions on their subjects. This is the sixth blog of a 13-part series; access the full series here.

How should I treat a patient with a partial-thickness burn on less than 10% of their body but poor vascularity?

It is not possible to give a specific answer to this question because burns larger than 10% could be anywhere from 11% to 99%. As mentioned in the presentation, larger burns cause burn disease with all its potential complications. “Poor vascularity” is a bit vague. If it is the result of diabetes, then the disease itself, including the typical microvascular problems, will contribute to poorer healing. On the other hand, peripheral arterial disease usually does not have a significant impact on the healing of partial-thickness burns unless occlusion is very severe.

How does the care of children with burns differ from the care of adults?

There is, in principle, no difference between children and adults with regard to the treatment of their burns. Some people still believe that children suffer less from pain; this is utter nonsense

promo_image1h.pngWant to learn more about burn management? Gain full access to the WoundCon Spring sessions and earn CE/CME credit at WoundSource Academy

Do antiseptics have a place in burn care?

In general, there is no place for Dakin’s solution, hypochlorous acid, etc. Betadine and chlorhexidine are used in burn care. You need to be careful: not only are these agents, to a different extent, toxic to the cells in the wound, but also, in a large burn, a lot of the agents can be absorbed, which may lead to systemic problems. As is always the case in medicine, there are exclusions to the rule. If a patient has sepsis with multiresistant organisms from, say, a non-excised, seriously infected burn, the use of chlorine-containing agents is not contraindicated (because, otherwise, the patient might die): they should be used for short periods, however, and should be combined with excision of the burned areas.

About the Author
Michel H.E. Hermans, MD, is an expert in wound care and related topics, trained in general surgery, trauma care and burn care in the Netherlands. He has more than 25 years of senior management experience in the wound care industry. He has conducted a large number of clinical trials relating to devices and drugs aimed at wound care and related indications and diseases. Dr. Hermans speaks internationally and has authored many published works relating to wound management.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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