Butter and toothpaste no help for burns

Cool a burn under running water for 20 minutes, then cover with a hydrogel and a clean dressing.
Cool a burn under running water for 20 minutes, then cover with a hydrogel and a clean dressing.

An estimated one million Australians believe applying butter, moisturising cream or toothpaste was appropriate treatment for a burn, new research has revealed.

Two in three Australians mistakenly believed minor burns were best treated by home remedies, research commissioned by Mundicare has shown, while half of Australians believed applying ice or an ice pack to a burn would help.

“The latest research shows a gap in our awareness of how to correctly treat a minor burn,” Pharmacy Guild of Australia president George Tambassis said.

“This National Burns Awareness Month we would encourage all Australians to take a few minutes to understand how best to treat a minor burn so as to not accidentally make it worse, and if unsure to seek advice from their local pharmacist.”

While an estimated 88 per cent of Australians understood it was important to treat a burn immediately, only 10 per cent knew the correct treatment for a burn.

But with 88 per cent of minor burns occurring in the home, knowing the correct treatment was important.

Julian Burton OAM, founder of the Julian Burton Burns Trust, said there were many misconceptions.

“Many people don’t realise that home remedies such as putting butter or ice directly on the burn can actually make the injury considerably worse,” he said.

“The correct first aid treatment for minor burns or scalds is pretty simple: you need to remove, cool, then cover.

“Remove yourself from any danger, and also remove any clothing or jewellery from around the burn area. Then cool the burn under running water for 20 minutes, and cover the burn area with a hydrogel … which will help to relieve the pain, and finally cover the burn with a clean dressing.”