The infection risk of plastic wrap as an acute burns dressing

Burns. 2014 May;40(3):443-5. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2013.08.006. Epub 2013 Sep 6.


Background: Domestic plastic wrap has been recommended as an appropriate acute burn wound dressing in the Emergency Management of Severe Burns course. There remain limited studies reporting the risk of infection associated with this dressing.

Aim: To determine the potential infection risk of domestic plastic wrap used to treat acute burns wounds by assessment for the presence of clinically significant micro-organisms.

Methods: Ten plastic wrap samples were collected from a roll that had been opened for several months on the burns ward at our institution. Plastic wrap was imprinted directly onto horse-blood agar plates. The plates were incubated for 72h in aerobic conditions with 5% CO2.

Results: We found no significant growth on any agar plate after incubation. A sufficient amount of plastic wrap was sampled to be confident that areas up to 12cm×12cm from the centre of the plastic sheet were aerobically sterile.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that the potential for plastic wrap to act as a fomite when used as an acute burn wound dressing is extremely low.

Keywords: Acute burn wound; Infection; Plastic wrap.

MeSH terms

  • Bandages / microbiology*
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Fomites / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Polyethylene*
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control*


  • Polyethylene