Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Burn Gel Q & A

 Are there any possible concerns with using burn gel on a patient with a significant or minor burn?
There are different types of burn gels that are available, some which contain different ingredients to decrease pain, increase the soothing action of the burn gel, or a combination of the two. For most patients, there is no concern with using burn gel directly on either a large, significant burn or a minor burn. In very rare instances a patient may have a reaction to the compounds used in the burn gel, but this typically results in discomfort and irritation of the periwound skin, not any further trauma to the burn. Since burn gels are largely water, they can easily be removed from the burn with a simple warm water rinse. This will alleviate any discomfort for the patient if there is a skin reaction.
 How long should burn gel be used on a burn?

Burn gel can be applied to the burn area as soon as possible and can continue to be used as long as prescribed. The gel acts as a moisture layer over the burn, allowing the tissue to heal and the necrotic tissue to debride or be removed naturally from the surface of the burn. This natural process minimizes scarring while assisting in improving healing and recovery time even with significant burns. Typically most burns will require reapplication of burn gel every 24 to 48 hours to keep adequate moisture on the burn as well as provide pain relief directly to the areas of the burn.

Is there any special storage requirements for burn gel?

Since burn gel has a very high water content, it is important to store the opened and unopened tubes or packages away from extreme temperature areas. This means they sound not be exposed to very high heat sources or freezing temperatures. In hospitals and clinical settings, this is typically not a concern but for home health care professionals with medical kits in their vehicles, it is an important factor. If the burn gel becomes too cold the ice crystals that form can damage the gels ability to stay as a gel when applied to the burn. The polymer structure, or the framework for the gel, simply dissolves, leaving a messy liquid. Product that has been frozen should be disposed of and replaced.  Heat is not as critical of a factor, but will make applying the burn gel more difficult unless the product is sufficiently cooled.
What type of dressing is best to use with burn gel if a cover is required for the wound?

A non-absorbing dressing applied over the burn gel can help keep the gel on the surface of the burn and prevent it from being rubbed of as the patient moves about. If an absorbent dressing such as gauze is used, cover with an occlusive dressing to prevent the loss of moisture, plus add addition gel to accommodate for the absorption into the dressing. If possible, an occlusive dressing without the gauze or absorbent dressing is the best option. 

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