First aid lessons learned in school taught us that minor skin burns which are of first- or second degree in nature are best treated by immersing the burnt skin in cool water, and then appropriately covering it loosely with dry, sterile gauze to avoid worsening its condition.
Then here comes forwarded emails or supposedly advisory posts telling us to handle minor skin burns during emergencies by using raw egg whites. Yes, raw egg whites to be slathered on burnt skin to save it from becoming infected or get worse.
They look so true and so backed up by testimonies; we may find it hard NOT to believe. The post looks so convincing! Shouldn’t we just start disregarding what were taught us in First Aid?
Shouldn’t we believe the posted advisory right away?
Shouldn’t we try and verify first if there is some truth in the post or email sent to us?
Yes, we should. It’s not a light matter to be taken lightly as it concerns safety. An unsuitable action might bring more damage than good. Health-wise and safety-wise, it is always best to seek professional advice and confirmation. A half-truth may not be good enough either.
Although conventional practices such as slathering certain oils, salves, poultices, flour, tomato paste, yogurt, and now, even egg whites on burnt skin may have been passed on to us, we have to be open-minded with regards to updates and latest findings. Such that, let us seek the most updated information which has been backed up by recent studies.
And research says that all practices mentioned above, INCLUDING USE OF EGG WHITES for first- and second degree burns, are contrary to accepted medical practice, as the risk of infection would be higher. Eggs could serve as a likely culture medium for micro-organisms and might bring about an aphylactic shock (sudden, severe allergic reaction characterized by a sharp drop in blood pressure, urticaria, and breathing difficulties) when rubbed on an open wound such as a burnt skin of someone who has an allergy to eggs.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation concerning skin burns, apply only cold water on burn injuries (it reduces the temperature) and forget all the other heard-of practices. Plain immersion would be sufficiently helpful in minimizing burn-related morbidity in first-degree burns and some second-degree; it’s really just that simple and easier to remember. Third degree burns are best left alone. And as soon as possible, take the patient to the nearest hospital or doctor.