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Burns are damage to tissue that can result from exposure to extreme heat, chemicals, electricity, or radioactive material.
For minor burns, natural medicine may be helpful after the burn is cleaned with soap and cold water and gently dried. Because of the risk of infection, topical applications should not be made to blistered or open burn wounds, unless under medical supervision. Extensive burns or burns causing more than minor discomfort should be treated by a healthcare professional.
Symptoms depend on the severity and cause of the burn but usually include pain and sensitivity to touch. The skin may appear swollen, blistered, dried, charred, weeping, or red, gray, or black-colored.
Acupuncture may be useful in the treatment of serious burns. A report of patients suffering from extensive second-degree burns suggests acupuncture can reduce shock and pain following the acute injury and may reduce infection and pain when used as a part of post-injury wound care.1 A preliminary report described ten patients with second-degree burns that did not respond to conventional medical treatment. A majority of these patients achieved greater than 90% recovery following electrical stimulation to the wound (similar to electroacupuncture).2 Ear (auricular) acupuncture with electrical stimulation was studied in a small controlled trial, in which a significantly greater reduction in pain from burns was achieved with acupuncture. The relief lasted at least 60 minutes following acupuncture treatment.3
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.