Sunday, September 4, 2011
Should Egg Whites be used on Burns? No.
A young man was sprinkling his lawn and bushes with pesticides and wanted to check the contents of the barrel to see how much pesticide remained in it. He raised the cover and lit his lighter; the vapors inflamed and engulfed him. He jump...ed from his truck, screaming. His neighbor came out of her house yelling, "Bring me some eggs!" Another neighbor came running with a dozen eggs. The first neighbor broke the eggs, separating the whites from the yolks, and applied the whites on the young man's face. When the ambulance arrived, the EMTs saw the young man and asked who had put the egg whites on his face. Everyone pointed to the neighbor lady in charge. They congratulated her and said, "You have saved his face." By the end of the summer, the young man’s face was like a baby’s skin. He took a bouquet of roses to his neighbor and thanked her for saving his face.
Keep in mind this treatment of burns which is included in teaching beginner fireman this method. First aid consists to spraying cold water on the affected area until the heat is reduced and stops burning the layers of skin. Then, spread egg whites on the affected area.
One woman burned a large part of her hand with boiling water. In spite of the pain, she ran cold faucet water on her hand, separated 2 egg white from the yolks, beat them slightly and dipped her hand in the solution. The whites then dried and formed a protective layer. She later learned that the egg white is a natural collagen and continued during at least one hour to apply layer upon layer of beaten egg white. By afternoon she no longer felt any pain and the next day there was hardly a trace of the burn. 10 days later, no trace was left at all and her skin had regained its normal color. The burned area was totally regenerated thanks to the collagen in the egg whites, a placenta full of vitamins.
This information could be helpful to someone. Please pass it on!
POUR COLD WATER ON THE BURN
and on this email about EGG WHITES
The email also claimed that using egg whites as a treatment for skin burns is part of the first aid training of firemen. “First aid consists to spraying cold water on the affected area until the heat is reduced and stops burning the layers of skin. Then, spread egg whites on the affected are.”
I got curious and started scouring the web for more information.
First of all, there are degrees of skin burns. From Mayo Clinic:
The least serious burns are those in which only the outer layer of skin is burned, but not all the way through. The skin is usually red, with swelling, and pain sometimes is present…
When the first layer of skin has been burned through and the second layer of skin (dermis) also is burned, the injury is called a second-degree burn. Blisters develop and the skin takes on an intensely reddened, splotchy appearance. Second-degree burns produce severe pain and swelling…
The most serious burns involve all layers of the skin and cause permanent tissue damage. Fat, muscle and even bone may be affected. Areas may be charred black or appear dry and white…
First aid may be applied to first degree burns and some second degree burns. But third degree burns require serious medical attention.
As for the email, there was no description of the severity of the man’s burns. According to Snopes:
Regarding the rest of the e-mail, fire fighters are not instructed as part of their training to treat burns with egg white. Instead, they learn at-the-scene first aid procedures, which mostly amount to keeping airways open, reducing the temperature of burned areas, then handing off burn victims to medical professionals.
However, that firefighters aren’t being taught to slather burn victims with albumen doesn’t mean that at one time providing exactly that treatment wasn’t a somewhat recommended practice. We happened upon sightings in turn-of-the-century medical journals that advocated the use of egg white on minor burns. Now, granted, most of those sightings promoted such use as a way of shielding injured areas from contamination (that is, using egg white to create a protective barrier between wound and air), but there was also suggestion that the application of this substance would take the pain out of the injury. (Mind you, those selfsame journals also offered up the information that a number of other wet, dense dressings, such as olive oil or a mixture of baking soda and water, would act just as effectively as a wound protectant and calmative for minor burns.)
In short, before believing everything that lands in your inbox, cross and cross-check whatever claims there are. After all, as with everything, the best first aid treatments start with actions based on informed decisions.
REAL First Aid For Burns
A burn involves the destruction of skin cells, and sometimes the underlying structures of muscle, fascia and bone. It occurs when these structures absorb more heat than they can dissipate. What you do for a burn in the first few minutes after it occurs CAN make a difference in the severity of the injury! Safety Tips:
1.STOP THE BURNING PROCESS. Remove the source of heat…if clothing catches fire, “STOP, DROP AND ROLL” to smother the flames.
2.REMOVE ALL BURNED CLOTHING. Clothing may keep in the heat and cause a deeper injury. If clothing sticks to the skin, cool the material or cut or tear around the area to preserve good skin tissue.
3.POUR COOL WATER OVER THE BURNED AREA. Keep pouring the cool water for at least 3-5 minutes. Never put ice or cold water on a burn as it lowers body temperature and can make the burn worse.
4.REMOVE ALL JEWELRY, BELTS, TIGHT CLOTHING, METAL, ETC. Remove from burned areas and around the victim’s neck – swelling of burned areas occurs immediately.
5.DO NOT APPLY OINTMENTS, CREAMS OR SALVES TO WOUNDS. These things may cause infection due to their oil base and can convert wounds to deeper injury; hold in heat and worsen the burn, and have to be washed off by a physician causing the patient additional discomfort.
6.COVER BURNS WITH A SOFT, CLEAN, DRY DRESSING, BANDAGE OR SHEET.
7.COVER VICTIM TO KEEP HIM/HER WARM.
8.SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
■FOR MINOR BURN INJURY: Keep clean, gently wash with a mild soap. Use an antiseptic spray or cream to help relieve pain and prevent infection before covering with a clean dry dressing. If wounds are not healing, appear weepy, or smell bad, seek medical help.
■ELECTRICAL INJURIES: DO NO TOUCH the person who is in contact with electricity. YOU WILL BE INJURED. Disconnect the source of power or call for assistance for the power company…then begin first aid. Primary concerns are clear airways, breathing, circulation and cervical spine immobilization…then look for other injuries.
■CHEMICAL INJURIES: Protect yourself from contact with the chemical. Read the container label information or consult with a Poison Control Center before administering first aid for specific chemical reactions. Dry chemicals: brush as much a of the dry chemical off as possible and remove it from the affected area from a minimum of 20-30 minutes or until a medical professional tells you to stop. Remove patient’s clothing, including shoes, before flushing with water. If chemical is near or is in the patient’s eye, check for contact lenses, which should be removed before irrigation of the eye. Don’t flush parts of body that are not contaminated.
Facts and Figures:
•A burn involves the destruction of skin cells, and sometimes the underlying structures of muscle, fascia and bone. It occurs when these structures absorb more heat than they can dissipate.
•Children and older adults, because they have thinner skin, get severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than an adult.
■Exposure for thus three seconds to water, which is 140 degrees F., can result in a full thickness or third degree burn on a child or an older adult. This type of burn would require hospitalization and skin grafts.
■People with MINOR to MODERATE injury according to depth and percentage can be treated in a specialty Burn Center or Unit, a local community hospital with a surgeon who knows state-of-the-art burn care, or on an outpatient basis.
■Burns are considered MINOR, MODERATE or MAJOR according to the depth and percentage of burn, but also the area of the body burned.
■Burns covering more body surface area than an arm of the victim, or if burns are on the face, hands, neck, perineum or feet are considered MAJOR and should be cared for in a special Burn Unit or Center.
“Rule of Nines” Burn Size
Burns are judged by the size of the burn in relation to the whole body and by the depth of the burn injury. Different methods exist to calculate the extent or size of a burn injury. The most common method, which provides a quick estimate of burn size, uses the “Rule of Nines,” where the body is divided into areas equaling multiples of nine percent of the total body surface area. The palm of your hand, for example, is equal to about one percent of your body’s surface area. The head and arms are each equal to nine percent of the body surface. The chest and back are each 18 percent (two nine percent). Each leg is 18 percent (two X nine percent). This totals 11 nine, or 99 percent. The heads of infants and small children are in relatively larger proportion to the total body surface area, and the limbs are in smaller proportion than adults limbs. The total body surface area of a burn is referred to as TBSA. A patient might have the diagnosis of a 45 percent TBSA thermal burn, for example. The TBSA and burn depth analysis are recorded on a hospital chart known as a “burn diagram.” Determining the percent of body surface area burned is important for correct fluid replacement.
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