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Treating burns

Treating burns

Question:

Any advice for treating minor burns?

– Alexandra Zeitz, Culinary Student, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Answer:

I’ll admit that as a cook—and even now as a culinary educator—my approach to a burn was maybe to run some cold water on it if I had time and otherwise ignore it. Brian Lofink, chef at Sidecar Bar and Kermit’s Bakeshop in Philadelphia says, “I just ignore it and get scars. [It is] cheaper than tattoos. I’m sure there is a better way, though.”

Dr. Michael Tomeo, a dermatologist based in Meadowbrook, PA, indeed knows a better way, “… If the burn is blistering or worse, a prescription cream called Silvadene 1% is best and should be applied three times per day until the area heals. If the burn is a first or second (redness only vs. blistering) degree burn, most likely scarring will not occur. A third degree burn is a deeper injury that causes an ulcer to develop and the chance of scarring is much more likely. It is critical to treat those burns with topical creams such as Silvadene and non-adherent dressings to facilitate better healing. Delayed healing is what leads to thickened scar formation."

In reality, of course, many cooks have neither the time nor the healthcare plan to seek a prescription for every burn. Hydrocortisone cream or chalking it up to a battle wound may be the more likely scenario.

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