Most of us, especially children, often suffer from burns. A very common household injury, the word "burns" denotes something more than just the burning sensation that is related to this particular injury. Burns can be differentiated from other injuries by the serious damage it causes to the skin wherein several affected cells die. Subject to the cause as well as the extent of the injury, nearly all people are able to recover from burns with no serious health hazards. However, if the burn injury is very severe, the individual needs instant emergency medical care with a view to put off complications as well as avoid death.
It is interesting to note that some cave paintings dating back to over 3,500 years, have documented burns as well as the means to manage them. One of the earliest such documents have been found in Egypt and shows methods to treat burns in details, including preparing dressings with breast milk of mothers of young boys. In addition, the Edwin Smith Papyrus dating back to 1500 BCE describes treating burns with honey and an ointment made from resin. Over the ages, people have also used several other means to treat burns. For instance, a document dating back to 600 BCE notes that the Chinese used tea leaves to treat burns. Another document relating to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (400 BCE) noted that vinegar and pig fat were also used to treat burns during his time. A Roman encyclopaedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus documented in 100 CE that wine and myrrh were also employed for treating burn injuries. However the credit for describing the various degrees of burn injuries goes to Ambroise Paré, a French barber-surgeon. Paré documented his observations in this regard in the 1500s. Later, in 1832, Guillaume Dupuytren further expanded on these different degrees of burns and categorized them into six dissimilar severities.
While the first ever hospital that treated burns opened in London, England, in 1843, the present burn care development started during the period between the late 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. It was during the World War I that an English chemist named Henry D. Dakin and a French surgeon and biologist Alexis Carrel formed standards for the proper cleansing and sterilizing burns as well as wounds employing sodium hypochlorite solutions, which were effective in reducing mortality significantly.
Moreover, scientists and physicians acknowledged the significance of early excision as well as skin grafting in the 1940s. During the same time, scientists also developed fluid resuscitation as well as formulas to guide excision and skin grafting. Three decades later, in the 1970s, scientists showed the importance of hypermetabolic state that usually occurs after major burn injuries.
The distinctiveness of a burn is subject to the depth of the injury. While the pain associated with superficial burns usually persists for anything between two and three days, which is followed by the coming off of the affected skin over the subsequent few days. Conversely, people suffering from more serious cases of burns may experience discomfort and also fret about a feeling of pressure instead of the pain. Full-thickness burns, on the other hand, may be completely insensitive to slight touch or even puncture.
Typically, superficial burns are reddish in color, while the color of severe burns may differ - white, pink or even black. If the burn has occurred in the region of the mouth or scorched the hair inside the nostrils, it may be an indication of the fact that burns may also have occurred to the airways. However, these findings are certainly not ultimate. Some signs that are more worrisome include hoarseness, shortness of breath, and wheezing or stridor.
As the burns start healing, the patients commonly experience itchiness. In fact, itchiness occurs in almost all children and 90 percent of adult victims at this stage. Following an electrical injury, the sufferer may experience numbness or tingling for a long period even after the burn has healed. In addition, in many instances, burns lead to emotional as well as psychological sufferings.
Natural ways to cure burns: Apart from the various modern scientific techniques to heal burns, you may also adopt some natural means to treat this condition. Since ancient times, people have been using honey to promote healing of wounds and even in present times, it may prove to be effective in treating first-degree and second-degree burns. There is some provisional evidence that use of honey aids in curing partial thickness burns.
In addition, there is scientific support that vitamin E also aids in dealing with keloids or scarring. However, it is important to note that butter is not recommended for such purpose. In fact, it has been observed that topical application of the ointment Elma 01 yields excellent results in healing burns. In developing nations where the income of families is quite low, in as many as 33 percent cases, people employ traditional medicines to treat burns. These traditional means of treating burns may include applying eggs, leaves, mud and even cow dung. In fact, in a number of cases of burn injuries, the use of surgical management is very limited because of inadequate financial support as well as availability of medications. It is worth mentioning here that there are some additional methods of treating burns, which may be employed along with the medications with a view to lessen the procedural pain as well as anxiety. These additional methods include hypnosis, virtual reality therapy and even behavioural approaches like distraction methods.