Simple Cool Running Water Reduces Burn Severity in Children

Written by Clay Smith

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Simply providing cool running water for 20 minutes within 3 hours of injury for children with burns was associated with a marked reduction in need for skin grafting and possibly burn depth and need for hospitalization.

Why does this matter?
Cool running water for at least 20 minutes within 3 hours of injury is a basic first aid element for burn management. But does it really make a difference?

Pretty cool!
This was a retrospective analysis of a pediatric burn registry (with data entered prospectively) that included 2,495 children with burns. They found 71% had adequate first aid with cool running water, as described above. In children with adequate cool water, odds of needing skin grafting were reduced by 40% (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4 - 0.8). For secondary outcomes, they also found a reduction in full thickness depth, hospitalization, and other operative interventions. This has import for at-home phone triage, EMS, and referring hospitals. This simple intervention was associated with meaningful clinical outcomes.

Source
Cool Running Water First Aid Decreases Skin Grafting Requirements in Pediatric Burns: A Cohort Study of Two Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-five Children. Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Aug 29. pii: S0196-0644(19)30538-4. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.06.028. [Epub ahead of print]

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