Country Living Series

Monday, February 20, 2012

First aid for burns

A friend sent me this. I can't testify as to its efficacy, but it kinda makes sense to me. Tell me what you think.
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A young man sprinkling his lawn and bushes with pesticides 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 ignited and engulfed him. He jumped from his truck, screaming.

His neighbor came out of her house with a dozen eggs and a bowl yelling, "Bring me some more eggs!"


She broke them, separating the whites from the yolks. The neighbor woman helped her to apply the whites onto the young man's face.

When the ambulance arrived and the EMTs saw the young man, they asked who had done this. Everyone pointed to the lady in charge. They congratulated her and said: "You have saved his face."

By the end of the summer, the young man brought the lady a bouquet of roses to thank her. His face was like a baby's skin.


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 two egg whites 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. Ten 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.

Keep in mind this treatment of burns is being included in teaching beginner fireman. First Aid consists of first spraying cold water on the affected area until the heat is reduced which stops the continued burning of all layers of the skin. Then, spread the egg whites onto the affected area.
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Since it's hard to vouch for the accuracy of stuff that gets passed around on the internet, is there any medically-trained folks out there who can verify this? Is this a good home treatment?

What other kinds of simple but effective home remedies can people send in that has a record of effectiveness?

UPDATE: A reader sent a link to a Snopes entry which refuted the efficacy of the egg white treatment. Make of this what you will. Nonetheless, I'd be interested in opening up a general discussion on simple home treatments and remedies.

28 comments:

  1. My grandmother claimed castor oil, rubbed into a healed burn, will prevent scarring, but it isn't for a fresh burn.

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  2. Patrice,
    I received this last summer. A few weeks later, someone had made hot water in the kettle on the stovetop and then set it down on a different burner. I came along, cleaning the stovetop, and picked up the still hot grate! I yelped and dropped the grate back on the stove. I grabbed ice cubes from the freezer and held them in my hand. While doing this, I remembered the email. When the burning pain subsided, I took out an egg an poured off the white and smeared it on my burned fingers. This tips of my fingers were already showing the white burned skin look. I repeated the egg white dipping a second time.
    The next morning, my fingers, though a little swollen, were smooth and normal colored. They never blistered or peeled at all. So I say it would work, maybe not as miraculously as the story states, but it definitely works.
    When I worked for a veterinarian they had a thing where they treated and then froze thin sheets of horse placenta. This was thawed and used as a covering for injuries on other horses. It did a beautiful job of healing some very nasty leg wounds.
    Paintedmoose

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  3. I found this on snopes, http://www.snopes.com/medical/homecure/eggwhite.asp

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  4. I stopped referring to Snopes long ago after I found it was totally wrong about several issues (especially political ones). When I'm searching for facts, I want unbiased FACTS, not opinion. I've found About.com (Urban Legends and Folklore) to be much more reliable than Snopes. Another problem with Snopes is that it doesn't let you copy and paste, About.com does.
    --Fred in AZ

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    Replies
    1. use view page source and copy from that

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  5. A split aloe leaf on the burn really works, at least on the small, minor kitchen burns I've tried it on: Maybe half a square inch at most and not very deep. Get it on there right away and keep it there, and there will be no trace of a burn. I don't know if that's due to medicinal qualities, or just the cool, wet goo cooling and soothing the burn.

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  6. Here is how emergency responders, just north of you in Bonner County, treat burns http://co.bonner.id.us/ems/documents/ClinicalPracticeGuidelineManual2011_09_01.pdf see guideline 6030. I would suspect other counties in the US might have similar guidelines.

    I also did a search on the JEMS web site (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) and found nothing suggesting use of egg whites for burns.

    Couldn't find any peer-reviewed articles on the web.

    Maintaining a sterile environment for critical burns is a key concern in both the pre-hospital and hospital environments. Egg whites would seem to be an ideal growth medium for harmful bacteria

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  7. Since you asked for other home remedies, here is one for insect stings: Tobacco wet with saliva and put on the sting like a poultice. As a former cigarette smoker and current pipe smoker I always have some at hand. Tastes pretty bad when you are getting it wet, but it really does work. Pain from the sting is gone almost instantly.

    I don't know if tobacco wet with water works the same - I don't always have water with me so I have never tried it. Always have some spit. ;)

    Terry
    Florida

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    Replies
    1. I can attest that snuff mixed with water for a sting works well. We keep a jar just for that purpose.

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    2. Having been allergic to fire ants, and living in fire ant heaven, I had to know some treatments. My mom had taught me that opening a cigarette and making a poultice with water would work.

      One day in high school, I was stung on the foot by a fire ant. I went directly to the office and began trying to get somebody to help me -- "Look, I'll open it right in front of you and mix it with water and put it on my foot!" I got lots of strange looks, and no help.

      Finally, I hunted down the librarian. She wasn't too sure about this treatment, but she pulled out a cigarette and watched me do what I said I would. It worked.

      Delete
  8. I think it sounds plausible...


    As to home remedies, I live by them. I bought Rodales book of home remedies and when I need something, I reference it.

    Jennifer

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  9. My daughter burned a strip down her face by getting too close to the iron. I immediately got some comfrey, ran it through the food processor with a little water, and then pasted it on the burn. It immediately took the sting away, and she never scarred. I use comfrey poultices for cuts, burns, and anything else I can get away with!

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  10. A chef told me about putting mustard (plain old garden variety liquid mustard) on burns. If I put it on immediately after the burn happens and leave it on for about an hour, I've found the burn stops hurting and there's minimal or no redness. I've addressed several curling iron burns successfully that way. If I put the mustard on e.g. an hour after the burn, I've found it has no effect.

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  11. Friends of ours use egg on burns, and have had excellent results with burns that I was sure would scar.

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  12. Oh Lord, did this bring back some memories lol.

    I'm a nurse in the UK. It used to be standard practice (about when Florence was a girl) to treat burns with egg-whites and oxygen. For many years it has been used as an example, not of 'evidence based practice' but, of 'we do do it because we've always done it' practice.

    There is quite a bit of research (from the period when that actually meant something) showing that this procedure has no positive, and some substantial negative, effects.

    As a first aid procedure the first and main action should always be the cooling. Continue the irrigation with cool water (not ice cold as that will cause further damage). Continue this long past the time you think is sufficient, and then continue a bit more (skin is an insulator and it takes a great deal more time to remove that heat than you'd believe).

    What is then needed is dependent on the severity of the burn, but for a minor burn a sterile aqueous cream (Sulphasalazine 'Flamazine' is still used in some burns areas) is acceptable (the aim is to maintain a moist sterile environment around the wound, the heat has not only destroyed tissue but it will have drastically dehydrated the surrounding tissues too). IV rehydration is a must in severe burns so any delay is crucial.

    With this aqueous barrier covered by a sterile plastic bag over the area (to prevent drying and as a further infection barrier), a more serious injury can be transported to medical assistance without the wound severity increasing. Don't use anything which may adhere to the tissue as it will slough off when it is removed.

    Sorry to be a pain, it does, I admit, sound good, but it just doesn't work :-(

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    Replies
    1. thank you

      you are not a pain

      people are far too willing to believe unsubstantiated ideas

      Delete
  13. We use raw honey on burns. It immediately gets thin (the honey) and starts to run so can be messy. As it thins out a lot, we add more. It has kept me from getting blisters and it takes away the pain.

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  14. I have found an excellent book called "Be Your Own Doctor" by Rachel Weaver M.H. Great book on the use of home remedies that do work. I don't recall anything in it regarding egg whites and burns.

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  15. Excellent solution, also Ketchup and/or vinegar works great, the acid neutralizes the pain and lessens the scar tissue formation,if any.
    Keep up the good work you are doing. God bless

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  16. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)February 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I am a total klutz and I burn my fingers on the stove, pot handles and oven trays quite often. I ALWAYS keep a container of plain white flour in the fridge marked "Burns". When the offending object gets me, I just open the flour container and stick my hand in it. Works wonders - don't know why, but it does really work for me. I've been doing this for years and have not lost any fingers yet. It's worth a try for small burns.

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  17. SNORT>>>>Snopes schmopes....I take everything they say with a grain of liberal salt.
    Paintemoose

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    Replies
    1. so you are happy to believe something that looks like complete bullshit without questioning it, but at dubious about something that has evidence?

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  18. When I was 3-4 yrs old I ran into my grandmother while she was carrying a pot of hot grape jelly. It spilled on my shoulder. Mother said grandma immediately separated eggs and applied. Her explanation was that the egg whites pulled out the heat. I have no scars.

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  19. I have had great success using cocounut oil on burns.

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  20. My mom used to do this, I Had forgotten, thanks.

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  21. As for burns the one place I seem to burn most often is my tongue on coffee. I think it is call addiction:) Meaning I can't wait for it to cool so I drink and get burned. The one cure I have found that always works is...sprinkle sugar on my tongue and let is sit there till it dissolves. It works every time. The other night we had our kids to the house to eat and my grandson (who is three) burned his tongue on sweet potatoes. I sprinkled his tongue and all was well. Then the next day he hurt his finger and asked for sugar to make it better:)

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  22. Excellent solution, also Ketchup and/or vinegar works great, the acid neutralizes the pain and lessens the scar tissue formation,if any.

    ReplyDelete