A two-year-old girl grabbed hot glue, suffering extensive second- and third-degree hand burns. The Emergency Department prescribed silver sulfadiazine. The following day, a burn clinic prescribed a multi-ingredient cream. The mother added homeopathic remedies (rinsing in breast milk, drinking colloidal silver, cold laser therapy). Despite paracetamol+codeine (10:1), ibuprofen, and lavender oil, dressing changes were terribly painful. Five days of thick yellow drainage, increasing maceration, and no healing led to a surgical consult. The mother, distressed about all this and the pharmacological treatment, solicited prayers and posted photos on social media.
Non-toxic polymeric membrane dressings (PMDs) were originally designed to decrease pediatric burn patients’ pain. Silver PMDs arrived during a dressing change the sixth day. All topical treatments were discontinued, including rinsing at dressing changes. Saturated PMDs were simply removed and replaced. Applying a flexible PMD around each finger was pain-free.
The mother posted photos showing dramatic improvement after only seven hours: clean, unmacerated, less inflamed wound beds. Pain reliever use decreased and healthy granulation tissue quickly followed. The wounds closed completely, with no visible scarring, after only ten days of PMD use. Many who followed the story on social media learned how to care for their loved ones’ wounds.
Increasingly, patients solicit health advice on social media. WOC nurses can provide a valuable service by offering evidence-based information online. Through social media, this little girl obtained a culturally acceptable, ideal dressing for her complex burns, sparing her from surgery, further pain, and physical and emotional scarring.
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