A review of first aid treatments for burn injuries

Burns. 2009 Sep;35(6):768-75. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2008.10.011. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Throughout history there have been many different and sometimes bizarre treatments prescribed for burns. Unfortunately many of these treatments still persist today, although they often do not have sufficient evidence to support their use. This paper reviews common first aid and pre-hospital treatments for burns (water--cold or warm, ice, oils, powders and natural plant therapies), possible mechanisms whereby they might work and the literature which supports their use. From the published work to date, the current recommendations for the first aid treatment of burn injuries should be to use cold running tap water (between 2 and 15 degrees C) on the burn, not ice or alternative plant therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / therapy*
  • Cryotherapy / methods
  • First Aid / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Oils / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy / methods


  • Oils